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— Not a great opponent, but all of Mike’s rotation tweaks stemming from starting lineup No. 3 (Barford, Macon, Watkins, Thomas, Kingsley) worked. The starters were +14 in almost 9 minutes together, the bench outscored Austin Peay’s 55-12 and the big lineup of Beard, Hannahs, Bailey, Cook and Thompson outscored Austin Peay 23-4 in 9+ minutes. Obviously you can’t draw any definitive conclusions given the competition and knowing Mike will continue to tinker, but I liked the more defensive starting group and using Hannahs as instant offense off the bench. He broke out of his slump. Defense has held 2 straight teams to less than 90 points per 100 possessions. Offense posted a big 135.6 rating, the result of playing inside-out well, scoring off turnovers and in transition, good 3-point shooting and Austin Peay just not being very good.
— They worked through Moses in the post more and it opened stuff up for the halfcourt offense because of Austin Peay doubling him. He had a career-high 5 assists and was patient when he got doubled, surveying the landscape. Guys played well off of his post-ups, too, creating passing lanes. Dustin in the high post against the 2-3 was money. I honestly don’t know that I’d double Moses if I was an opposing coach, cause he’s not a great back-to-the-basket scorer. But if teams are going to continue to do so, he’s shown he’s a good enough passer when he doesn’t get in a hurry that they can get a lot of good stuff off that.
— Adrio Bailey had 14-7-2 in 18 minutes. He’s gotten 30 minutes the last 2 games after playing 19 the first 5, which includes one DNP-CD. Very active and played with a good motor. He can do things athletically the other bench bigs can’t. He worked well with Kingsley, too. I thought he and Cook were active together. C.J. is instant offense. May be worse rotating on defense than Dusty, but the dude can put up points. Still can’t dribble that well, but that ceiling is so high.
— Bailey, Cook and Thompson were all in that big lineup together and they beat up a small Austin Peay team. Wonder how much Mike goes back to this, if at all, moving forward. He’d only used a 3-big lineup once in the first six games and it was a garbage-time group that included Hazen. This could be his way to get Adrio minutes and also get more length/defense on the court around Dusty.
— Barford and Beard were each effective in their own ways. Barford has been at his best pushing the pace and attacking the rim. He’s got a great ability to be going full speed and then contort his body for nifty finishes. Beard has been very cool and collected, under control and getting where he wants on the court. Both had four assists. Beard has been the better distributor so far this year and was more impressive in that regard Saturday in that he actually created looks for guys with nice feeds. He’s been impressive all year.
— Stray thoughts