17 November 2011

NU 88 LSU 82 (F)

Carmody gambled a bit by holding off deploying the 1-3-1 until the second half .  Good idea, Coach.  By holding your cards, it prevented Trent Johnson from using halftime to coach up his kids on the 1-3-1 with some actual experience to draw upon.  The chess master got out maneuvered!

LSU had the speed advantage, but their young back court was flummoxed by the 1-3-1 which NU used nearly exclusively in the second half after going with primarily man-to-man defense in the first stanza.  We didn't see a single ball fake or a single head fake that is key to making the 1-3-1 lose its integrity.  Nor did we see LSU stationing a shooter in the unguarded corners so perhaps Trent Johnson really doesn't know how to attack the 1-3-1.  Doubtful seeing that he was COTY for three different conferences during his career.

Anywho NU used the 1-3-1 to force copious amounts of turnovers that turned into easy NU points while at the same time transferred confidence from LSU's precocious freshmen stars to the likes of Drew Crawford, JerShon Cobb, Reggie Hearn, and Dave Sobolewski.  Shurna was already playing lights out in the first half so he just kept on keeping on en route to setting his collegiate high water mark of 37 points.

Drew Crawford's game really impressed us.  He was easily NU's best defensive presence out there, and his offense looked brisk and efficient.  This brought smiles to our faces because NU desperately needs him to step up as the #2 scoring option.  JerShon Cobb made up for a rough first half by flashing his smooth midrange game and showing his savvy by getting hands in passing lanes.  Reggie Hearn knocked down some big threes early on in the second half to knock LSU back on their heals including the shot that completely erased LSU's edge.  And Sobo displayed his heady ball handling skills as well as a willingness (and ability) to knock down big shots as the game winds down.  His three to put NU up by two scores with about 30 seconds to play was the dagger.

On the downside Marcotullio, Mirkovic, and Curletti all had games to forget. They need to come down with quick cases of amnesia since next up is Tulsa at 2:30pm Central tomorrow.  We didn't see Tulsa's game, but the ESPN talking heads were quite impressed with their defense and the play of their soph center who reminded at least one analysts of Jerome Jordan (who had a large hand in Tulsa's NIT victory over NU three seasons ago).  Tulsa is still coached by Izzo acolyte Doug Wojcik.  Even with Wojcik's recent experience against NU, one day to prepare for NU's schemes is a tall order.  FWIW, here is the Tulsa U installment in our "Better Know an Opponent" series for the March 2009 NIT game.

We couldn't find odds for the game.  It looks like a draw from the Sagarin ratings, but Pomeroy had NU ranked 38 vs Tulsa's 78 prior to today's games.  A win is doable and we believe would look pretty nice come March.