The state of Ramnation

BracketForecast

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May 9, 2011
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You are absolutely right, and this is well-stated. I read it right - the first time you posted it. We are, and have been a Top-Flight A-10 Program. We have made, and still do make this Conference better. We are now one of the Foundations of this Conference. I'm really proud of that. And I'm a 42-Year Fan. Since I was about 7 Y/O. You cut me open.... you'll see a ton of black and gold. I've been here through almost all of it - except maybe the (actual) very beginning. And my Dad was here for that - so I get all those "foundational" stories from him - and from his Friends.

Yep. I'm here to stay. I'm proud of being a VCU Ram. I'm also a grad - like my Father before me. We are VCU People. It's in our DNA. It goes way deeper than just being a Fan. And so no. I'm not going anywhere. Period.

But I've got the equity in this thing to have earned the privilege to say how I feel. And here is how I feel about this Team: There is absolutely nothing "Flagship" about this (year's) Team. Nothing. Zero. That is a designation that is earned. And these guys have not even come close to earning that. This Team is an underachieving mess. This is a 6th place Team, if we're lucky, at this point. And that's a shame. It's a shame that this Senior Class has decided to go out like this. I definitely over-rated the Team in the off-season / pre-season. I gleaned too much from last year's dominance. I guess the league really was "down" that much. More than I thought. And we won all the gimme games, and the Kids blew up with confidence. But the real truth is.... I over-rated the real talent level. I really did.

More truth: This is the worst Senior Class performance I have ever seen from a VCU basketball roster. Collectively, they have stunk up the joint - and just played bad basketball. The only guy I give a pass to on that..... is Kel Simms. He's given us everything he's got - IMHO. He's played solid ball - and then some, and played all the way to his talent potential. He's maxed out. I'm proud of Kel. DJ is a close second. He's been solid. He's been steady. But he never rose to the occasion, and blew up like we thought he (eventually) would. The rest..... terrible senior basketball. Low I-Q basketball. And they are not low I-Q guys. They're smart young Men. That's why it makes me scratch my head. Anyway - what a way to go out. The Richmond game.... wow! Pretty obvious at this point... they've cashed it in. They know they are out of the NCAA Tournament now, and so they're done.

These guys set a trend for themselves early in the year, and they have followed through on it. They play bad Teams. They generally win. They play a good Team. They lose. And lately... we even find a way to lose to a 2-and-8 George Mason Team. At home - and get out-rebounded by 20! Wow. Yep. This season has just plain sucked. I'm looking for a better word... but I can't find one. One of, if not the most disappointing year in VCU Basketball history, IMHO. A huge let-down.

Now, as I said earlier..... I'm not going anywhere. You don't bail when things don't go your way. But I've got to get a little of this off my chest. By the way.... the Staff, and specifically Mike, do not get a pass on any of this. A terrible job of bringing them together this year. But that's a tough one for me. The Coach doesn't shoot the free-throws. The Coach doesn't decide whether or not each player brings his A-Game or not. Brings the energy or not. Each player does that himself. The Coach doesn't shoot the 3-balls. He doesn't bring the ball up the court, or make entry passes. Etc, etc. I was unbelievably impressed with Mike last year, when we won- and how he put this Team together so quickly. So I'm not bailing after one bad season, even though it's hard to explain, with the senior-laden Team we've had. I still dig Mike. And I am also super excited about the younger players on this Team - as well as the recruits we've got coming in. Mike's going to have to ramp it up though - that's for sure, if he wants to keep up with A-G and some of the others. They're coming. And he needs to find a way to pick up a few more big-game wins here and there. Anyway - I'm still stoked to be a Ram. And a die-hard Ram-Fan. But I had to vent a little.
If there's a POTS Award (Post of the Season), this should be the leading nominee. Articulated so much of what I've wanted to say. Thanks Bo.
 
Apr 20, 2009
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While we are certainly not near the shooting team we have been in years past... I think there's several reasons for our struggles & it's not just the fact we are not as deep as we used to be.

1. Outside of Bones.... our best 3 point shooter (crowfield) has hardly been utilized... and while his injury had part to do with that for a small amount of time... the other part is.... Crowfield is not a guy that will create his own shot most times. Not saying he can't, but he's certainly much better, when we run a set play to get him open in the corner. The problem is, it doesn't appear we run many set plays.... and if we do, we don't run them very well. If you go back & look at the Loyola game (I think it was)…. Crowfield was 3-3 on 3's.... every one of those were set plays started by ME... that got Crowfield open for nice easy looks that he knocked down.

2. I honestly believe our players struggles on offense are affecting how we play on defense.... and I say this sorta based on what I've been seeing from our Women's games as of late compared to our Men's games. And what I mean by that is... lately WBB team has started off a lot of games cold offensively, and they've had to weather the storm & try not to get run out of the gym by the other team. Yesterday our Women played Dayton... the best team in the A10... we started off the game Very cold offensively, down 21-8 at the end of the 1st quarter, and even got down by as many as 17 early in the 2nd quarter.

So how did they avoid getting run out of the gym by the best team in the A10, on the road? They started focusing more on their defense, started shutting down Dayton, using their defense to force turnovers & create their offense. They managed to cut the deficit all the way to 2 pts with 3:25 to go in the 4th... now they ultimately lost by 5... but they never gave up... and when their offense went cold, they started locking down on defense which got them back in the game until they started hitting shots.

I don't see this same kind of thought process out of our men's team much currently. What I see is more of frustration defense, where we start making careless fouls, or start over pursuing / not communicating on defense which leads to a wide open basket for the other team.

Prime example was the one play that involved Vann & someone else (Williams maybe?) against Richmond on Saturday…. Vann is guarding Gilyard at the top I believe it was... Williams was following his guy who was running towards Gilyard, as Gilyard was going towards the corner.... Vann & Williams collide... which left a wide open lane for Gilyard to go all the way for the easy layup... absolutely no communication on that play whatsoever. And I'm certainly not singling these 2 out, because I've seen it a lot the last 3-4 games, with a lot of our players. But that play is fresh in my mind as it just happened Saturday.

I know some of yall hate the comparisons between MBB & WBB, mainly because of the gap between talent levels (or because you find WBB boring)... but I'd be willing to bet most of you would prob love to see our mens team use a similar mindset, to the one our WBB team put on yesterday against Dayton (despite being down as many as 17 points early in the 2nd quarter). When your shots are not falling, just focus on playing even better defense. And if we had lost either the GMU or Richmond game strictly because our shots were not falling (like our WBB team against Dayton yesterday).... there would be a much different tone from a lot of you then there is currently.

We've seen this team win games on nights where our offense just isn't clicking.
You are over analyzing Patrick. I watch a lot of college hoops. Its not rocket science. If you cant consistently knock down open shots you are gonna lose most of the time. Especially if you are not a good rebounding team. It doesn't matter how good your D is, if the guys you have out there dont shoot well you are not gonna win a lot of the time unless you are shooting like 40 FTs per game.
 

RamBo

Top Member
Apr 21, 2009
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If there's a POTS Award (Post of the Season), this should be the leading nominee. Articulated so much of what I've wanted to say. Thanks Bo.
Thank you very much. That's a very nice compliment. Just trying to find a way to call it like I see it.... without being insulting and overly nasty. LOL It's hard to do right now. But this was my best attempt!
 
Nov 26, 2017
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How is that any different than if we made the NCAA this year? We are still going to have four new inexperienced (as you put it) starters next year. You guys really think barely missing the tournament is going to send recruits headed to the hills? Come on now. Coaching changes probably account for WAYYY more decommitments than missing the tournament. I don't think recruits are as doom and gloom as some of you "fans."
I agree that coaching changes account for more decommitments but if you think that making the NCAA tournament doesn't positively help with recruiting and not making it negatively impacts recruiting then you need to stay away from the ABC store.
 

Mistachill

Top Member
Apr 20, 2009
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But I've got the equity in this thing to have earned the privilege to say how I feel. And here is how I feel about this Team: There is absolutely nothing "Flagship" about this (year's) Team. Nothing. Zero. That is a designation that is earned. And these guys have not even come close to earning that. This Team is an underachieving mess. This is a 6th place Team, if we're lucky, at this point. And that's a shame. It's a shame that this Senior Class has decided to go out like this. I definitely over-rated the Team in the off-season / pre-season. I gleaned too much from last year's dominance. I guess the league really was "down" that much. More than I thought. And we won all the gimme games, and the Kids blew up with confidence. But the real truth is.... I over-rated the real talent level. I really did.
Question...do you really think the lack of performance from the seniors is due in part to the conference being better this year? In other words, if you take 2019-20 Evans and drop him in the 2018-19 A-10, would his performance be any better?

I actually think the expectations for this season were reasonable. Like you referenced, the seniors this season have either regressed (Vann & Evans), didn't progress (DJ and Crowfield) or maginally got better (Simms). That's our season in a nutshell combined with the rest of the conference getting better. Really, the only player who got significantly better this season was MSS and I guess the upgrade from Byrd to Bones. But not enough to offset the regression of Evans and Vann.
 
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Mistachill

Top Member
Apr 20, 2009
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28,798
I agree that coaching changes account for more decommitments but if you think that making the NCAA tournament doesn't positively help with recruiting and not making it negatively impacts recruiting then you need to stay away from the ABC store.
Of course performance affects recruiting. I don't think it affects commitments unless something dramatic happens (i.e. coaching change, scandal, possible investigation, etc.). I can't think of a single committed recruit who decommitted because their team didn't dance. Maybe it has happened, doubt very seriously it happens often.
 
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Natty

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Feb 12, 2009
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Relate note: Dayton was 21-12 last year (13-5 in A-10), lost in the first round of the A-10 tourney then lost in the first round of the NIT.

They are now the No.5 team in the country with two different guys in the starting lineup (one was on the team last year coming off the bench). They had two players with +6 or better overall box plus/minuses. They now have five this season (and Landers is up from +3 last season to +10.2).

Sometimes the state of your program can change in what feels like almost overnight with a few minor changes.
 

LazyStegosaurus

Top Member
Oct 31, 2018
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Relate note: Dayton was 21-12 last year (13-5 in A-10), lost in the first round of the A-10 tourney then lost in the first round of the NIT.

They are now the No.5 team in the country with two different guys in the starting lineup (one was on the team last year coming off the bench). They had two players with +6 or better overall box plus/minuses. They now have five this season (and Landers is up from +3 last season to +10.2).

Sometimes the state of your program can change in what feels like almost overnight with a few minor changes.
Yeah, that change was Obi decided to come back to school. Guy is a freak. Are they good without him? Sure. Are they top 5? Not even close.
 
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Half-baked Mcbride

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Apr 19, 2009
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Question...do you really think the lack of performance from the seniors is due in part to the conference being better this year? In other words, if you take 2019-20 Evans and drop him in the 2018-19 A-10, would his performance be any better?

I actually think the expectations for this season were reasonable. Like you referenced, the seniors this season have either regressed (Vann & Evans), didn't progress (DJ and Crowfield) or maginally got better (Simms). That's our season in a nutshell combined with the rest of the conference getting better. Really, the only player who got significantly better this season was MSS and I guess the upgrade from Byrd to Bones. But not enough to offset the regression of Evans and Vann.
In Marcus's defense? He's a young man with an old man's body...never have we seen a player with his laundry list of ailments/injuries/random bad luck/etc.
I'm not big on following social media, but IV's family sounding off negatively and publicly (as has been mentioned) can't be helping in the locker room or on the court....Same with MSS's uncle (I miss @Tad Gordon )

The good news is the State of RamNation could get a real shot in the arm tonight.....highlights are gonna be on Sportscenter anyway, here's hoping our Coaches and Players come correct!!!
 

Wolfpack Ram

Top Member
Apr 21, 2009
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Question...do you really think the lack of performance from the seniors is due in part to the conference being better this year? In other words, if you take 2019-20 Evans and drop him in the 2018-19 A-10, would his performance be any better?

I actually think the expectations for this season were reasonable. Like you referenced, the seniors this season have either regressed (Vann & Evans), didn't progress (DJ and Crowfield) or maginally got better (Simms). That's our season in a nutshell combined with the rest of the conference getting better. Really, the only player who got significantly better this season was MSS and I guess the upgrade from Byrd to Bones. But not enough to offset the regression of Evans and Vann.
Fmason took VCU to the woodshed in the Stu last week. fmason has definitely NOT improved from last year. In fact, fmason finished the A-10 regular season last year at 11-7. If anything, they are worse than last year's team.