The VCU Rams 2022-23 Season Thread

PhantomRam

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I don't think you need to have played or coached to understand the basics of any sport, but playing and coaching does help in seeing and understanding the subtle nuances of each game.
So, because I am interested, what are a few of these subtle nuances? All I see is the same starting five making the same boneheaded turnovers, running the same plays and defensive schemes. I ask because I am genuinely interested in knowing all this stuff that we are told that "we just don't understand".
 
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I don't think we are in any worse shape than this time last year, and we were likely a game or 2 out from the tourney. We had wins against Vandy and Syracuse that didn't end up being that great and losses to UTC and Wagnervat home.

The Vandy and Temple games are huge now tho. If we can get them and take care of business we will have a huge streak going into conference play. At that point Ace will be back and we got some opportunities with Dayton and the rest.

Season definitely isn't over. I think we will be looking very bubbleesque again, which isn't the worst and if we could just catch a few breaks for once that would be nice.

We would have to win the remaining OOC and like run the league pretty much.
If the 2015-2016 season would have happened in the NET era, I don’t think we receive an at-large. This was before the quadrant era, so wins over teams ranked 1-50, 51-100, etc were broken out. We had a road win over Top 25 St Joes and a home win over Top 30 St Bona and that was pretty much it. All of the other wins were bottom of the Top 100.

These are “ifs”. The fact is Wade made the tourney both of his years. I hate Wade as much as the next person but quite simply his run here was pretty incredible all things considered even if he’s a complete a$$. End of the days coaches are judged on the results not ifs.

Wade put himself in a position to make the NCAA. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. He co won the A10 regular season which the reg season champ usually gets a bid. They dropped a close one on the final day at Dayton who had to win to tie the reg season. They fell in the tourney championship game. Honestly it would have been shocking if they left out the A10 co reg season champ who went down the tourney final.
 
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For note I don’t see a year where Rhoades had a team get snubbed that we could argue should be there. Grant had one that possibly should have but took a horrible loss in the CAA tourney. Shaka obviously had some fortune but his teams definitely earned a spot. Wade’s teams most definitely did. I think the committee generally if they see you finished high for the season and make a deep run the conference tourney put you in. It’s very possible if VCU made the final last year they get in. Probably first four. Dayton and VCU honestly if they played a great semi final might have been in consideration. Likely only one goes but maybe the committee thinks a bit more seeing two teams on big streaks running to each other before the final.
 

theyaintwantit

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We would have to win the remaining OOC and like run the league pretty much.


These are “ifs”. The fact is Wade made the tourney both of his years. I hate Wade as much as the next person but quite simply his run here was pretty incredible all things considered even if he’s a complete a$$. End of the days coaches are judged on the results not ifs.

Wade put himself in a position to make the NCAA. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. He co won the A10 regular season which the reg season champ usually gets a bid. They dropped a close one on the final day at Dayton who had to win to tie the reg season. They fell in the tourney championship game. Honestly it would have been shocking if they left out the A10 co reg season champ who went down the tourney final.
I wasn’t hating on Wade. I was simply stating an opinion and noting how the old RPI and new NET / quadrant system have differences. I’m glad we received an at-large in 2016, I just don’t think the resume was spectacular. But…. That was in the RPI era and ratings were calculated differently and resumes were broken down differently.
 
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I wasn’t hating on Wade. I was simply stating an opinion and noting how the old RPI and new NET / quadrant system have differences.
I get that but you suggested we weren’t impressive outside of a few wins. We won the A10 reg season and only tied because of losing to Dayton on their court on the final day. Then we made the A10 finals. I mean those accomplishments alone will get a team in for the A10 pretty much every year. It also should be noted that we didn’t suffer any major blow outs under Wade. So we were in the games. That’s things committees look at. Oh they played 5th ranked Duke close. Oh they took a close L to Wisconsin. Honestly seeing a team that’s in every game, wins the regular season, and makes the final. That’s an absolute no brainer to put them in. That’s a team that can make noise and note they did win a game and barely fell to a future NBA star in a hostile road environment.
 

theyaintwantit

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I get that but you suggested we weren’t impressive outside of a few wins. We won the A10 reg season and only tied because of losing to Dayton on their court on the final day. Then we made the A10 finals. I mean those accomplishments alone will get a team in for the A10 pretty much every year. It also should be noted that we didn’t suffer any major blow outs under Wade. So we were in the games. That’s things committees look at. Oh they played 5th ranked Duke close. Oh they took a close L to Wisconsin. Honestly seeing a team that’s in every game, wins the regular season, and makes the final. That’s an absolute no brainer to put them in. That’s a team that can make noise and note they did win a game and barely fell to a future NBA star in a hostile road environment.
I said *resume* was unspectacular in response to @WillWeaverRVA's comment about the team starting 5-5. I never said "we weren't impressive".
 

HBK

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So, because I am interested, what are a few of these subtle nuances? All I see is the same starting five making the same boneheaded turnovers, running the same plays and defensive schemes. I ask because I am genuinely interested in knowing all this stuff that we are told that "we just don't understand".
First, I never said, “You don’t understand.” Please don’t put words into my mouth. Anyone can understand. Basketball is a pretty simple game, but its not easy. It’s like most things in life, those who have experience doing something tend to see things that others may not. I can do basic plumbing repairs, but when it is something a bit more involved, like a well pump and switch, I call an experienced plumber who can ascertain the issue more quickly and definitively than I can, and correct it easier than I could. Doesn’t mean I’m not an intelligent person, but part of intelligence is understanding that others may know more because of experience.

To your general question: It can be as subtle as how you defend a ball screen. Are you hedging hard, are you going under, are you switching? How a team defends the post? Offensively, it can be as subtle as where a ball screen is coming in the front court. Are we running a motion offense with or without a post option. (Example: when DeLoach is on the floor, we typically use him as a post option. When DeLoach is out and Johns is the “big” on the floor, sometimes we‘ve run offense with him as a post option and other times we’ve run offense without Johns setting strongly in the post because he is a legit 3-point option; DeLoach is not.). There are myriad other things I could point out, but this post will be too long as it is.

What you saw far too often against Memphis was guys not really running anything like they should and instead going one-one-one far too often. That can work some against an undersized team without athletes, but it won’t work against a big experienced team with as much, if not more, athleticism than we have. It won’t work consistently against any A10 school.

We defended the Memphis PG a bit differently in the second half. A bit more help instead of straight up man-to-man with no help. It should be pointed out that I think both Nunn and Zeb did a pretty good job in the first half on Davis, but he just made some tough shots. Credit to him.

Finally, some of the biggest “changes” made by teams are between the ears. Sometimes, guys just play better, which makes things look smoother and improved on the court, and the coaches may have made absolutely no strategic changes. These are 18-23 year olds, not robots. As I said, anyone can understand because basketball is a simple game, but it isn’t easy.

Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.
 

Ramaholic

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First, I never said, “You don’t understand.” Please don’t put words into my mouth. Anyone can understand. Basketball is a pretty simple game, but its not easy. It’s like most things in life, those who have experience doing something tend to see things that others may not. I can do basic plumbing repairs, but when it is something a bit more involved, like a well pump and switch, I call an experienced plumber who can ascertain the issue more quickly and definitively than I can, and correct it easier than I could. Doesn’t mean I’m not an intelligent person, but part of intelligence is understanding that others may know more because of experience.

To your general question: It can be as subtle as how you defend a ball screen. Are you hedging hard, are you going under, are you switching? How a team defends the post? Offensively, it can be as subtle as where a ball screen is coming in the front court. Are we running a motion offense with or without a post option. (Example: when DeLoach is on the floor, we typically use him as a post option. When DeLoach is out and Johns is the “big” on the floor, sometimes we‘ve run offense with him as a post option and other times we’ve run offense without Johns setting strongly in the post because he is a legit 3-point option; DeLoach is not.). There are myriad other things I could point out, but this post will be too long as it is.

What you saw far too often against Memphis was guys not really running anything like they should and instead going one-one-one far too often. That can work some against an undersized team without athletes, but it won’t work against a big experienced team with as much, if not more, athleticism than we have. It won’t work consistently against any A10 school.

We defended the Memphis PG a bit differently in the second half. A bit more help instead of straight up man-to-man with no help. It should be pointed out that I think both Nunn and Zeb did a pretty good job in the first half on Davis, but he just made some tough shots. Credit to him.

Finally, some of the biggest “changes” made by teams are between the ears. Sometimes, guys just play better, which makes things look smoother and improved on the court, and the coaches may have made absolutely no strategic changes. These are 18-23 year olds, not robots. As I said, anyone can understand because basketball is a simple game, but it isn’t easy.

Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.
I completely agree with the fact we are in the same boat as we usually are this time of year. I expected 1-1 out of Brooklyn and expected a Memphis lost. MR has an excellent track record in regards to not dropping the easy wins. He usually delivers and gets a few winning streaks every year.
No doubt there are nuances he makes that I (and many fans) don't pick up on. My biggest concersn (and why I sounded alarm this early) was the seemingly same old scoring droughts that plaqued us in big games in the past, and were present in both losses this year. Even the Pitt win had many of the same characteristics. There doesnt seem to be any noticeable adjustments when they happen. I wish we could call a time out or 2 if necessary and draw up a play that ends the momentum sooner than we do. It seems so deja-vu'sh when it happens.
Second, and this is really a pet peeve of mine. The technical fouls for mouthing off. That needed to stop seasons ago. But here we are still getting immature technicals. That is 100% on MR to correct and for whatever reason he can't get it under control. You bench the player -for games if necessary. You are the coach and you send a message that those mouthing off technical fouls do not happen at VCU. That is street ball [email protected] and has no place here at VCU. Sure, its bound too happen, but the frequency it happens here is embarrassing and that vicseral response of mouthing off is not the way winners (in anything) act. MR makes close to $2M a year. There is zero excuse we are seeing that in year 6 with veteran players. It's like we picked up exactly where we left off with Richmond/ St Louis losses last year. You can beat the MR drum all you want, but the culture of mouthing off and taunting is bush league and that is a leadership deficiency. Sure they are kids. That is why they have adult coaches; to curb it. So far, MR has no solution for it.
In my company, I would never allow that attitude of mouthiness (to the point we are repeatedly penalized for it) to continue.
We will see what happens.

I do think we will be in NCAA at large discussion in Feb. MR has had us in NCAA discussion every year except year 1 and Bones first year. That is not easy and is commendable.

I know this take on the technical fouls is a bit harsh. But technical fouls for mouthing off will really hurt us and should be kept to a couple a year at the max. Let other teams do it to us.
 
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SteveMM

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Season definitely isn't over. I think we will be looking very bubbleesque again, which isn't the worst and if we could just catch a few breaks for once that would be nice.
I mean, most mid-majors live on the bubble. Over the last 10 years or so we've had a few years where we didn't have to worry at the end of the season, but most of them we had at least a little bit of doubt.
 

VCUBusiness

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6 seasons in there should be a well adjusted core group of veterans on the team that don’t get troubled trying to run an offense that has been in place since they started with the team, and should be ready to compete day one. Especially with the level of recruit we’ve seen.
 

SteveMM

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6 seasons in there should be a well adjusted core group of veterans on the team that don’t get troubled trying to run an offense that has been in place since they started with the team, and should be ready to compete day one. Especially with the level of recruit we’ve seen.
The veteran on the team right now, at least one who has been in the system for more than a year or two, is Ace Baldwin. Between graduation and transfers, a mid-major going forward will have trouble keeping those well adjusted groups of veterans on the team. The team is simply quite a bit worse when he's not on the floor.
 

Mr X

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The veteran on the team right now, at least one who has been in the system for more than a year or two, is Ace Baldwin. Between graduation and transfers, a mid-major going forward will have trouble keeping those well adjusted groups of veterans on the team. The team is simply quite a bit worse when he's not on the floor.
And Banks
 

HBK

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So, because I am interested, what are a few of these subtle nuances? All I see is the same starting five making the same boneheaded turnovers, running the same plays and defensive schemes. I ask because I am genuinely interested in knowing all this stuff that we are told that "we just don't understand".
One last thing: I think it is easier to see in-game adjustments in person rather than on TV. I was in Memphis and saw something that worked for the Tigers. (Caveat: I was not in Brooklyn; I saw those games on TV). Anyway, Memphis did something consistently to Shriver that no one else has done so far this season that I've seen. They were very physical with him from the moment he stepped on the floor. They gave him no room and they didn't really help off of him. They wanted to make him physically uncomfortable, and they did as evidenced by his 0-9 shooting. When he finally got an open look or two, he rushed the shots. I can recall at least two relatively open 3's he missed (one late in the first half and one in the second half) in which he wasn't on-balance as he went up for the shot. That was a great piece of strategy by Penny Hardaway and his staff. That should open up the floor for us, and we were better in the 2nd half, but still played too much 1-on-1 ball offensively.
 

HBK

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I completely agree with the fact we are in the same boat as we usually are this time of year. I expected 1-1 out of Brooklyn and expected a Memphis lost. MR has an excellent track record in regards to not dropping the easy wins. He usually delivers and gets a few winning streaks every year.
No doubt there are nuances he makes that I (and many fans) don't pick up on. My biggest concersn (and why I sounded alarm this early) was the seemingly same old scoring droughts that plaqued us in big games in the past, and were present in both losses this year. Even the Pitt win had many of the same characteristics. There doesnt seem to be any noticeable adjustments when they happen. I wish we could call a time out or 2 if necessary and draw up a play that ends the momentum sooner than we do. It seems so deja-vu'sh when it happens.
Second, and this is really a pet peeve of mine. The technical fouls for mouthing off. That needed to stop seasons ago. But here we are still getting immature technicals. That is 100% on MR to correct and for whatever reason he can't get it under control. You bench the player -for games if necessary. You are the coach and you send a message that those mouthing off technical fouls do not happen at VCU. That is street ball [email protected] and has no place here at VCU. Sure, its bound too happen, but the frequency it happens here is embarrassing and that vicseral response of mouthing off is not the way winners (in anything) act. MR makes close to $2M a year. There is zero excuse we are seeing that in year 6 with veteran players. It's like we picked up exactly where we left off with Richmond/ St Louis losses last year. You can beat the MR drum all you want, but the culture of mouthing off and taunting is bush league and that is a leadership deficiency. Sure they are kids. That is why they have adult coaches; to curb it. So far, MR has no solution for it.
In my company, I would never allow that attitude of mouthiness (to the point we are repeatedly penalized for it) to continue.
We will see what happens.

I do think we will be in NCAA at large discussion in Feb. MR has had us in NCAA discussion every year except year 1 and Bones first year. That is not easy and is commendable.

I know this take on the technical fouls is a bit harsh. But technical fouls for mouthing off will really hurt us and should be kept to a couple a year at the max. Let other teams do it to us.
I hear you, especially regarding the technical fouls. I posted recently that I'd suspend a kid for a game if he got a tech for which he instigated something. The double techs aren't great either, but sometimes that's the refs being overly cautious in getting control of a game.

I totally get that it seems like adjustments don't happen. As I said in the post you quoted, sometimes there isn't necessarily a strategic adjustment that needs to be made, but rather a team just needs to get their head in the game and play better. Give you an example: we scored 48 points, shot over 50%, and only turned the ball over 5 times in the first half against Manhattan. They didn't really do anything different defensively in the 2nd half, yet we only scored 25 points, shot 27% and had 9 or 10 turnovers in the second half. It was a few things, like freshmen playing, but mostly it was our guys losing some focus & intensity and getting loose with the ball. That had nothing to do with strategy and everything to do with our team's mental state. All the X's and O's in the world don't matter much if the team isn't focused. Some would say the coach needs to keep them focused, and I know every coach preaches focus, but these are 18-23 year old young men. Focus, particularly with a big lead at home, can be difficult to keep where it should be.

It's no secret I think, and know, that Mike is a good coach. One area that I may differ from him is that he gives players a lot of freedom on the court, particularly on offense. He says that kids enjoy that style, and I think he's 100% right. What kid doesn't like lots of freedom on or off the court? However, I believe that freedom needs to be earned, not just given. I'd like to see a little less freedom sometimes, but I'm not the coach.

Hope you and yours have a great Thanksgiving. Peace.
 
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