March 20, 2007

This Seems Familiar

Filed under: Basketball,Coaches,Dixon,NCAA Tourney,Tactics — Chas @ 11:16 pm

Howland and Dixon have a lot of similar traits. That isn’t surprising. It’s just amusing. Whether it is style of play or how they treat time outs.

Ben Howland consumes timeouts like bottles of water. The difference is that he – or one of his aides – can always get more water.

When Luc Mbah a Moute sprawled into a loose ball pit Saturday, he called time to keep from traveling or being set upon by Indiana Hoosiers. That was UCLA’s final TO of the game. It came with 5:11 left and with the Bruins leading by 12. Howland didn’t raise an eyebrow. He prized the possession more than the timeout.

Then came a series of dominoes that, had UCLA lost, would have sent the Bruins “faithful” into full riot. At the least it would have subjected Howland to some how-comes for the first time in his four years in Westwood.

Indiana decided to quit firing blanks and began a rally that tied the Bruins with a minute left.

The typical coach would rather surrender his spleen than call timeout in the first 15 minutes of a half.

Phil Jackson is famous for watching his players flail around and learn to escape the messes they’ve made. Of course, Jackson coaches 82 games in the regular season, and his playoffs aren’t single elimination.

Howland is different. It’s a difference that’s consistent with everything else he does. He’s a “now” guy. He is not going to go down with bullets in his chamber or timeouts in his hands.

I know I’ve seen it enough this season with comments freaking out about how Dixon uses and sometimes burns through timeouts. Generally, I’m okay with how Dixon handles the timeouts. I do find myself startled frequently late in games to see that Pitt is only down to 1 or 2 left, and I don’t even realize how many they used.

This article was one I wanted to post on back in the Big East Tournament when I saw it, but it got swallowed in the ether. Unfortunately it is now behind the stupid NY Times paid firewall. Here’s the summary. It talks about how Ben Howland spends so much time breaking down tapes of opponents in preparation. Trying to find out about everything they do and plan for it.

What struck me about it, was how similar — no surprise — it is to what Coach Dixon does in preparing. Watching tons of video. Trying to figure out everything the opponent will do. Consider this:  in the 7 losses Pitt had this year, only 3 occurred when the winning team did what was expected and the players performed as expected — Oklahoma State and Georgetown twice. In the other losses there were variables of players suddenly doing what they hadn’t.

Wisconsin — Bryan Butch suddenly finding a deep shot.
Marquette (at the Pete) — Dan Fitzgerald hitting shots and Marquette making FTs.

Louisville — Derrick Caracter playing well and the whole Cardinal team finally playing to its potential.

Marquette (at the Bradley Center) — Kinsella dropping the first 3s of his career and David Cubillan stepping up huge in place of an injured Jerel McNeal.

The Wisconsin game especially was what I thought of because of Dixon’s comments afterwards.

“(Butch) was the guy that, I think, kind of stretched us out defensively,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. “Him making those shots really gave them a little different (look), another advantage in that area and helped them out.”

The key is the “different look.” Butch came into the game shooting rarely and poorly from outside. Everything else from Wisconsin was expected. It was Butch that threw things off

The good news about teams at this time of the year, especially in the post-season and definitely with UCLA. It is highly improbable that there will be any new wrinkles or player who comes out of nowhere.

The “71” is UCLA class of ’71.

I decided to try to infiltrate the enemy camp and get a whole bunch of secret stuff to turn over to Coach Howland to help us win. Unfortunately, this blog sounds a lot like Bruins Nation, with just solid reasoning and good arguments to back up your points. And of course there is no secret about where your loyalties lie, which is as it should be.

Anyway, here’s to a good game with no one getting hurt, and with the players and coaches deciding the game, not the refs.

And now the obligatory GO BRUINS.

Comment by Fox 71 03.20.07 @ 11:47 pm

UCLA fans have no idea of the changes that went on here before Howland even got here. WE DIDN’T EVEN SHOW HIM THE FUCKING BUILDING THEY WERE PLAYING IN AT THE TIME CAUSE WE WERE BUILDING A NEW ONE IN A COUPLE OF YEARS. It’s funny how Pitt, as a university, has a competent administration running it, and is able to pick out talented people and intelligent ideas WELL BEFORE it becomes obvious to the morons of the world (read: UCLA’s administration and fans). IF YOUR UNIVERSITY WAS SO GODDAMN SMART THEY WOULD HAVE HIRED HOWLAND FROM N ARIZONA, NOT WAIT UNTIL IT WAS SO GODDAMN APPARENT TO THE ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD HE WAS A GOOD COACH. Way to be on top of shit. If you morons have your heads stuck so far up your own asses and spend your time telling each other how great you are, maybe you would be able to pick up on a few things a little earlier in life. QUIT COMING TO THIS BOARD AND SCRIBBLING YOUR NONSENSE. Everyone here is now dumber from having read your incoherent babble.

And what is the sense of these morons coming over here and “defending” the “nothing” that Howland did? Tell it to each other, we’re tired of hearing your bullshit.

“Unfortunately, this blog sounds a lot like Bruins Nation, with just solid reasoning and good arguments to back up your points.” Too bad you’re too stupid to even insult us correctly.

Comment by Stuart 03.21.07 @ 12:31 am

Ooh, so sensitive. Sorry guess I only saw the posts that the grown ups were writing.

Take another look, sonny. You’ll see that I wasn’t trying to insult any Panthers. But you really should not involve yourself with the adults. We use big words that you probably don’t understand. (Oops. I did it again. Should have said that you don’t get.)

Comment by Fox 71 03.21.07 @ 12:53 am

try to infiltrate the enemy camp and get a whole bunch of secret stuff to turn over to Coach Howland to help us win.

you are certainly a gag, “fox,” wearing Spidy underoos I’m certain.

…he said “infiltrate”

Comment by Neil 03.21.07 @ 2:07 am

oh man, Stuart. Stop your reactionary self if only for a minute. Your digging into argument — and rather intensely, one should suppose — vs. a person known only to you as “fox.” CAM, the kid’s more likely to live in the same dorm as you, as he-she is in/at UCLA.

Got it? take it a bit easy on the “intellectual” contests surmised thrown your wayh, FFS

Comment by Neil 03.21.07 @ 2:22 am

Haha you guys need to be able to take a joke. The man is kidding around. You really think there’s anything on this site Howland wants? Is he really trying to insult us? I mean, you get one of the few guys classy enough to write something complimentary and you guys HAVE to try a way to rebut him. That’s just embarrassing.

Comment by Yi 03.21.07 @ 9:26 am

although we raise an eyebrow about the timeouts now and then, all of us who are Bruin fans have full trust in what Coach Howland does night in and night out. and while a loss to Indiana may have raised some questions, i wouldn’t question anything that Coach has done for us so far in his masterful 4 years here…anyways good luck tomorrow night and it should be a great game!

Comment by matsumoto 03.21.07 @ 2:28 pm

Why do these dopes keep posting here..did someone on our side post at their site?

I don’t want to hear good luck or we’re dedicating th game to M. Dixon-just stay off our blog!

Comment by scoocher 03.21.07 @ 9:11 pm

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