Looking at these next 5 games...

We did a good job last night taking care of business against Georgia. Despite the record, Georgia was still a dangerous team, they beat Texas pretty handily and that same Texas team beat Kansas last night. They also beat Georgia Tech, who beat us on our home floor. Looking at that game, I thought it was possibly it could be a trap game for us because guys were so let down after Texas Tech game, they would look at Georgia’s record and assume it was a give me game, glad they didn’t do that and played hard.

This stretch next stretch is what I’ve been waiting for. I think winning 4 out of 5 is very realistic and put us where we want to be, and winning 3 out of 5 still puts us in a good position as well. Despite what some think, we aren’t that far behind, our NET after last night’s win is 63. To get in the bubble range you need to be in the 40s/50s. A couple good wins can get us there.

Next 5 games…

@LSU - NET 16 - This is the toughest game by far, they are 6-0 and playing great. If we play like we played against Texas Tech, we’ll have a shot though. Their NET is 16, getting a win on the road like this would probably jump us at least 10 spots in NET.

Vandy - NET 115 - Like Georgia, it could be a trap game, it’s going to come after a very emotional and tough road trip, and it’s a team that is capable of upsetting teams despite the record. We need to win this no matter what.

@SC - NET 117 - I think South Carolina is starting to fizzle out, they were horrible in the non-conference, and started off hot in conference, they’ve now lost 3 of their last 4. We know they’ll play tough defense, but this is a very winnable road game for us, I think we have the better team.

@Mizz - NET 79 - Mizzou has now lost 5 out of their last 6 games, although like us the beginning slate of their conference schedule is brutal, so you can’t judge them strictly on their record, they are a capable team we seen that when they played us in BWA a week ago, they got the best shooter in the conference, and their PG is solid as well. Like the SC game, I think this is very winnable and we have the better team.

Miss St - NET 25 - Great opportunity to pick-up a quality resume building win. Mississippi State, IMO is the most beatable ranked team in the conference, they are currently 3-4 in conference, with us in BWA we should have the advantage here. Going to be interesting match-up with Perry playing he’s played well as of late, you know he’s going to get up to play against his former AAU teammates, I still like the Hogs in this game though.

Good break down.

With LSU coming up, I’m more worried about our defense. The press has been doing very well the last few games, but I don’t think you can pull that off against LSU. Plus, with a big man that can shoot 3’s, it stretches our defense a lot, so our guards are going to have to be ready to attack the boards to negate that advantage.

Offensively, we need to make quick passes in the half court. LSU has won 6 games because they force teams to play at their tempo. If we can make quick passes and force their defense to chase or force switches on us, we can win this game.

It will be tough because we will no help from the officials there. It’s almost as bad as Florida, but still not as bad as playing at Mississippi State.

I actually think we have a realistic chance at all five. The TT game reminded me of the 89-90 season vs UNLV. We weren’t considered a great team and played an outstanding UNLV team, but we played good enough it started catching people’s attention (national pundits) and then the team started winning (ended up 30-5, FF). That’s what I thought with the TT game, we had a chance to win (we actually had a chance to win six of our eight losses) and lost, but played well enough it brought the team together and they went on a roll. Hopefully, that’s exactly what the TT game will do.

That would definitely put us in the bubble talk.

Huh…we were ranked 11th with 3 McDonald’s AAs on that team. If not “great” we were considered very good.

Each of our young players have had their good moments this year. If they could all gel at the same time a win is possible every night. The first 5 to 10 minutes of the LSU are critical. A replay of the last few starts would probably doom us.

I believe we will win 2 or 3 of those games. We could win any of the games, but probably not all 5. If I were predicting, I believe we lose to LSU, split with South Carolina and Missouri, beat Vandy. The key, to me, is the Mississippi State game. We could beat them in Walton, that would really be a nice win. I said before the year we would go 9-9. I still think that is pretty close.

I think there are three major keys that will get us to the dance (1) Continue to play hard nose D like, we have proved we can in the last couple games. There’s no excuse from this point on not see that kind of effort, I don’t expect it to cause as many turnovers as it has but do expect it to change plays and eliminate wide open shots and get some shot clock violations. (2) We have to as a team get better at the foul line especially at the close of games as Hack a Shaq will take place count on it and in critical times, the coaching staff will need to be switching in out or poor shooter with good shooters when feasible at the close of games. (3) Now stay with me here, we have to lower Gaffords field goal percentages to the low to mid 40’s. If we do that good things will happen, it will mean Dan is getting more touches in the paint and that their big has to play more D with the possibility of foul trouble, it also should translate to more double teams which leads to a better shot selection from outside, it will give us a solid half court offense when not in transition run outs. I keep hearing Dan is working on a jump hook if so we need to pass it into him when he’s down low and him to right up with it without dribbling and show everyone why he will be drafted in the first round. I’ve always heard if a player is average field goal percentage is above 50% he’s not taking enough shots and I believe that to be true! WPS

Didn’t realize we were 11th. Maybe we were better than I remembered, but same point. I remember during that game the announcers talking about how much better we were than they thought. That’s what I was getting at. After UNLV the team went 23-3. I expect this team to win more than they lose going down the stretch.

I don’t think Gafford missing shots is the recipe to success during this run, or ever, really. Your star being less efficient isn’t a great strategy, especially if its purposeful. I would argue that double teams are more likely to come after he finishes the touches he does get, which could lead to those good perimeter looks you also mentioned. On the fouling point, he already draws 6.5 fouls per 40 minutes in conference play and 7 per 40 for the season, which is top 25 nationally. His primary matchup has fouled out in two of the last three games.

Completely agree on the first and second points. Free throw shooting is a definite weakness with this team. To the first point, the defense is going to be tested in a big way Saturday. Point guard play is a plus for LSU and a huge reason why its 6-0 in SEC play and likely to be 7-0 after tonight. Containing Tremont Waters off the dribble is important, but reacting to shooters on his penetration is the key, I think. That’s about not ball-watching and communication, which Mike and players have talked about quite a bit lately.

Missing shots is not the point, taking more shots was the point. He is not getting the ball in his enough, i was being generous by saying in the 40% shooting, to think he’s taking more shots and shoot over 60% is not going to happen. We can have him shoot 1 shot and be 1 for 1 and shoot 100% would that be better, of course not, but have him take 15/20 shots and make 45% and get the pressure off Joe and other guards with more open shots is the objective I had in mind, no where in my post did I say have him miss them on purpose. WPS

So you would like him to take more shots, but only shoot 45 percent? And that would be helpful?

Finding the right combination of productivity and efficiency will help optimize output, and that’s what we are not getting done in my opinion,because I’m of the belief that the more shots he gets in the paint the better this team will be even when he shoots a lower % ! WPS

Back in those days, 11th was bad for the Hogs…