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Pulse of the Team :: Week 3

The "Pulse of the Team" is a weekly or whenever-I-get-to-it post about the state of the team, what's going well and what isn't. The Pulse of the Team looks at the week that was, the week ahead, what's trending up, what's trending down and the current player impact, courtesy of StatSheet.

Last Week:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks
W : 63-61 (Box Score)

Saturday, November 28, 2009 
Samford Bulldogs
W : 74-53 (Box Score)

This Week:

Thursday, December 3, 2009 
Washington Huskies

Slightly Improved Rebounding: This has been the first time that I've been able to write that the rebounding is improving. I'm going to take this opportunity to highlight last week's game against Samford and hope the team does as well. Against SFA, the team was out-rebounded by 4 (28-32). This team seems to have been much more focused on the rebounding issue as I've read player quotes from PF D`Walyn Roberts and PF Darko Cohadarevic mention that the rebounds must improve and I believe they are taking this to heart. Against Samford, the team was much better, grabbing 35 rebounds to Samford's 20, including 9 offensive boards by the good guys. Granted, anything to this date has been against relatively weaker competition (save Oregon St.), but that's about to change relatively soon.

Playing to Competition: I think the Samford game is an indication that Pat Knight is learning how to coach. I know that PK has adjusted his lineup according to the opposition previously, but against Samford, and a very small squad, PK had the players and confidence in those players to get the job done and secure a 21 point win. The combination of guards John Roberson, Nick Okorie and David Tairu played 100 of the 200 minutes available, which means that the remaining 100 minutes generally went to SF Mike Singletary (20), SF Brad Reese (24) and PF D`Walyn Roberts (27). PK went relatively small against Samford and I hope that's an indication that he has the players to play different styles and not play his best player in Singletary (although he did have 4 fouls), yet still grab a 20 point win.

Tough Road Ahead: There's not much to get down about with this team, but I'd just like to remind everyone about the upcoming non-conference schedule, the KenPom Rank is in parentheses:

The average KenPom ranking of the first 7 opponents was 193.71 and the average KenPom ranking of the next 7 opponents is 105.14, and that factors in a really bad McNeese St. team that's dragging down the rest of the group. There's a reason to be excited about what's happened thus far and thus far the team hasn't lost a game that they should have won. It's only a little bit of progress, but it's progress nonetheless. We'll know quite a bit more about this team after the month of December.

The one thing that this chart doesn't show are the shooting percentages. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit concerned about PG John Roberson's 39.4% shooting, although as I've mentioned before he's always shot at that rate and was hoping that he could get that shooting percentage higher. Also under 40% is SG Nick Okorie (37.2%) and SF Brad Reese (39.0%) and I'm not as concerned about those 2 players because they do not seem to take the volume of shots that Roberson can. I'd love for Roberson to be more selective and I think that percentage improves.