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Whats wrong with the Patriots?

George Mason Basketball: Whats wrong with the Patriots?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Whats wrong with the Patriots?

Since my last post the Patriots have lost to Bucknell, defeated Radford by two, and got man handled by one of Duke's worst teams in years. The fact that we are losing these games shouldn't really be a cause for concern but its how we are losing that is really frustrating. I know I know, we were a Final Four team and are not a Final Four program, but come on everyone expected more than this. And maybe saying that is unfair to them but nevertheless the team looks in a disarray on offense and just plain pathetic on defense. Add that to the inconsistent production from the bench players, that is when there actually is production from any of them. During the Radford game Dre Smith scored the first basket, Urbina scored the last, and no one else besides Vaughan, Campbell, or Thomas scored. The big three can't be expected to carry the team every night, the bench players have got to give more support. Heres what I think are the most glaring problems the team is currently having:

Perimeter Defense: Been noticing that every team Mason plays seems to drain three pointers with ease? Well I have and I can't understand it. It was even noticeable early in the season against Wichita State, players just seem like they are always wide open. Bucknell shot 50% and Duke shot 45% from behind the arc, thats just ridiculous.

Team Unity: Last years team was the poster child for how a team should play as one cohesive unit. This years squad is doing almost the opposite. The lack of movement on offense and certain players going for one-on-ones constantly is not working. Players are holding onto the ball too long and then forcing up terrible passes that often result in turnovers. I mean this is basic fundamental basketball stuff I am referring to here not some hybrid offense scheme. Coach L mentioned this in the halftime interview on Saturday, why aren't the players getting it?

Starting Lineup in flux: The Patriots have already used four different starting lineups and different substitution patterns almost every game. The team needs to find out who the starters are and it needs to happen soon. Campbell, Vaughan, and Thomas aren't going anywhere but who else will be consistently starting? Urbina and Carter have struggled with the role and I don't think they will be starting by the end of the season. I did not think Monroe would be out of the starting lineup at this point in the season but he has been playing terribly lately. Dre Smith has showed flashes of his talents, but then he has a three point game at Radford and a two point game at Duke after getting clutch steals against Bucknell and going 3-4 from the three point line. Also Birdsong had a solid game on Saturday and could be the answer to this starting lineup problem and he could definitely free up Thomas from those double teams if he keeps this up.


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