Mike hinted at lineup changes today

Didn’t elaborate but said they may shuffle it around depending on practice and that he had 9-10 guys who’d start. I asked if it was hard to start Daniel until he proves he can stay out of foul trouble and he essentially said that wasn’t necessarily the case.

The starting lineup had a +31.8 net rating heading into Houston, but obviously got off to a bad start. He was asked about C.J. and said his minutes will continue to go up. I think Dustin may be the more likely guy to be inserted this week.

He usually changes the lineup after a loss this time of year. So, not surprised.

Yea, I was going to be shocked if lineups stayed the same.

My best guess for tomorrow will be Macon, Barford, Beard, Thomas, Gafford. Thomas has looked a little bit better out there than Bailey and been able to stretch the floor, plus Thompson hasn’t been giving us much and Houston bigs absolutely dominated him.

Thompson only played four more minutes than Gafford. When a 6-6 forward scores 28 points, a lot of it from the perimeter, I don’t think it’s fair to lay the whole debacle at Thompson’s feet. Nobody expects him to guard a combo forward on the perimeter. If you look down the bench, he’s not the guy that should be guarding Davis. None of their other forwards did a lot. Davis is the PF. Brady is the center, 4 points and 4 rebounds. Davis didn’t dominate Bailey and Thomas? Where were they at?

That’s my opinion on what I saw from Thompson. Different people watch the game and see different things. I saw him getting absolutely abused in the post and I think by a wide margin Gafford is a better player and should be starting over him. I get the foul trouble, but that’s something he’s going to have to learn to correct whether he starts or comes off the bench. I’d rather him be in the game earlier to help set the pace, and I think we’ll see him as a starter sooner rather than later.

Macon, Barford, and Gafford combined for 7 of 25 (30% eFG%) and had more TOs than assists. The rest of the team shot 48%. That might be one reason why we lost, but Thompson and Beard get thrown under the bus on the boards as soon as we put up an L. You don’t win tough road games depending on the role players to play lights out. It was definitely a team loss, and there was no obvious move that was going to make much of a difference on that night. Except for a few bright moments from Beard, Thomas, and Jones everyone pretty much sucked on both ends in that game. That’s how you have both your worse offensive and defensive performance of the season. It was a team effort. It happens. Move on.

Our O was almost identical to the UNC game in terms of optics and results. The UNC game wasn’t a slow paced game. We’re going to have to improve our halfcourt O. My guess is that it will be much better by March, but it’s going to have to start with Macon and Barford because they are the gravity wells that shift the D out of position. We won road SEC games last season that had possessions in the 60’s. Not every team is going to let this team run, and I warned beforehand that Houston was among the national leaders in denying transition attempts, not that I thought that they would shut us down to that extent at their size.

As for lineups, if we replace Beard, Bailey, and Thompson with Jones, Thomas, and Gafford, it looks like it creates a lot of imbalances to me. It’s basically putting our five best offensive scorers on the court to start the game. With Macon and Barford we already have our two best scorers on the court. Jones and Thomas add offense but weaken the defense. Likewise, they have 4 assists between them on the year. Beard has been our best ballhandler and is a better position defender than Jones right now.

Now look at what we have on the bench. Beard, Thompson, Bailey, Gabe, Cook, and Hall. It’s mainly defense and almost no scoring with our two leading assist guys. Remember the team came together last season with Macon as the sixth man. He wasn’t on the bench because the guys in front of him were better. He was our best all-around guard last season. Likewise, everybody wants to see Gafford on the court more, but he’s not seventh in minutes because he isn’t starting.

If Gafford picks up a couple of early fouls and the guards get winded, our rotation could have Beard, Macon/Barford/ or Jones, Hall, Bailey, and Thompson on the court at the same time. Most likely that would bring our offense to a screeching halt against a good defensive team.