Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The losses keep mounting, the confidence keeps declining

Trey Zeigler, left, drives against Wright State.
CMU lost its sixth consecutive game Monday night 72-69 on a last-second 3-pointer by South Dakota State's Nate Wolters.

Things are not looking good. And while it's not time to push the panic button just yet (that might come later in the first half of the conference season), there are some warning signs that this just might not be a very good team.

No offensive continuity, flow or comfort: After attending the team's 53-49 loss against Wright State, I waited to post because I wanted to see what it did against Detroit. Well, it turned out to be another stellar 49-point effort in a 75-49 flat-out embarrassment against another father-son tandem that looks like they're comfortable together.

And although the Chippewas put up 69 Monday night, South Dakota State came in giving up 67.2 per game, good for 165th nationally. And without a 45-point second half, CMU doesn't crack 60 again.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wait...how many assists?

So, the CMU men's basketball team lost again, this time 59-55 to a usually-tough LSU squad on Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

What to take from this one? Well, again, CMU lost a late lead. It was 53-52 CMU lead as late as 1:05 remaining in the game before two free throws from LSU's Andre Stringer. Then PG Amir Rashid and Jalin Thomas turned the ball over on successive possessions and LSU solidified the game at the line. Coach Ernie Zeigler blames it on a lack of "poise." You also could blame it on shooting 35.4 percent and totaling....

2 assists.

First, let me say I haven't watched these recent losses. I'm going off what I can read from the box score.

But....2? Through eight games, CMU is averaging 9.6 assists per game. That's good for 326th nationally out of 336 teams. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's probably not leading to much success.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A few words on an rough loss

CMU's 71-62 loss on Sunday against DePaul, the cellar dweller in the Big East, came when the Chippewas blew a 36-24 halftime lead and a 47-40 lead midway through the second half. It doesn't help when the other team doubles you up (31-15) over the final 10:45 of a game.

It also doesn't help, however, when your star freshman commits his fourth foul less than 3 minutes into the second half. By the time Trey Zeigler checked back in 10 minutes later, the score was tied 52-52 and CMU was on the defensive with less than 9 minutes remaining. Zeigler then fouled out just more than 2 minutes after hopping off the bench, with 6:25 left.

Jackson's a better bet at PG
After that, Amir Rashid turned the ball over three more times to run his tab to 8 on the game.

Yep, that about sums this one up.

Oh, one more thing: the whole 28-turnover thing. Whoops.

Not all Rashid's fault, but I continue to ask: Why isn't Derek Jackson your starting point guard at this point? Sure, point out that Rashid had a career-high 16 points and added three steals, but had just one assist.

Rashid already has 21 turnovers this season and the same number of assists, and that's even after sitting out all but 6 minutes of the Chippewas' loss against Hawaii. Jackson has 9, and 13 assists while handling the ball less. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

It seems to me you'd want someone playing the point who protects the ball. Jackson's already shown he turns the ball over less, is a better offensive player and is more athletic. The only thing he lacks is experience. At 2-5, it couldn't hurt to give him some starting experience in non-conference play.

I need to see this team in person to know for sure, which is why I'll be going to the Wright State game on Tuesday at the new McGuirk Arena.

Anyway, here's the box score if you're so inclined.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Second-half troubles halt CMU's upset bid against Temple, 65-53

CM Life sports editor Aaron McMann's recap of CMU's 65-53 loss can be found here.

The Good: 
Jalin Thomas had a game-high 26 points.
  • Central Michigan opened a new arena Wednesday night, and drew a sellout crowd of 5,350, which is more people than attended the first four home games of 2009 combined (4,641). The former Rose Arena, now named McGuirk Arena for the local real estate moguls, technically is just renovated. But the massive additions (new entryway, practice facilities, etc.) and total makeover was enough to brand it as a new thing and pack the stands in the opener against recently-bumped-from-the-top-25 Temple. CMU got off to a fast start and the crowd energized by leading 32-24 at halftime.
  • Jalin Thomas (26 points, 6-of-8 3-pointers). The senior forward from Columbus, Ohio, likely took advantage of the Owls' defensive focus on star freshman Trey Zeigler, who had his worst game since turning the ball over eight times at South Alabama (see below). Thomas had 17 of his 26 in the first half.