Mike won't do this . . . but if I were the coach . . .

I’d start Thompson instead of Gafford tomorrow. Obviously, it has nothing to do with who the better player is; it’s about protecting young Daniel from himself in the early going.

Think about it. How often has Daniel gotten past the first TV timeout before he got his first foul? Answer - hardly ever. Furthermore, how many of those first fouls have been - to put it bluntly - “dumb” fouls? Answer - almost all of them. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen him get called for a silly reach-in foul 25 feet from the basket! That’s NOT where he needs to be committing fouls.

I believe it’s because his adrenaline is so high that he’s all over the place, trying to make defensive plays he should (and probably does) know better than to try. Early game over-excitement. Why not let him watch the first 4-5 minutes from the bench to get mentally into the flow of the game, and then put him in. After all, we’re going to need 15-20 minutes from Trey anyhow. And if we do start Daniel, and he gets a couple of early fouls, we’re gonna be in trouble.

And, for that matter, this goes double IF we survive and play Purdue and their huge center. If we’ve got 10 fouls to burn on that goon, let’s let the first couple come on Trey, not Daniel.

Again - I don’t expect Mike to follow this approach. I’m pretty sure he will start Gafford. But I do think it would be the best route for us, at least these first two games.

The season began with Trey starting. From the fifth game on, fans started wondering why Gafford is not starting. But Mike kept Trey as a starter for the very reasons you mention. Finally Mike decided Daniel was too important not to start the game on your best foot.

I fully understand your reasoning and agree Mike won’t do it. However, watch out if he does start Trey and we fall behind early and eventually lose. Forums would have a meltdown and be dominated by you know who.

Never save your ace for the game you never play.

Although I get it’s not the whole game. I get the idea.

The other side of that is if they jump out to a 10-0 lead or something with Gafford on the bench, he gets criticized for that as well.

I’m guessing he goes with Gafford too.

I would be stunned if he did something different than what has made them so successful down the stretch.

Don’t dance with a different partner than who you brought to the dance (OK, maybe that’s a stretch). But they are pretty settled in their starting lineup and I don’t think now is a good time to go away from it. Gafford has to play within himself. If he picks up an early foul, Mike will have a decision to make, but let’s not give him that foul before he’s whistled for it.

Well, as I pointed out in the OP, and alluded to, neither is going to play the entire game. Daniel usually plays between 20 and 28 minutes, depending on his fouls trouble and the game situation. Whether he starts or comes in after a few minutes, there’s still plenty of time to get him all the minutes we need him to play.

Consider this alternative to the scenario you paint above. In the first 4 minutes of the game, usually both teams are feeling each other out, establishing rhythm, etc. Even if we’re behind, say, 11-4, if Daniel comes in after 4 or 5 minutes there’s still 55 minutes or so to play. On the other hand, if picks up a quick foul or two, and THEN they go on an 11-4 run, then the momentum is firmly on their side.

Runs happen. IIRC, we had a game not too long ago where we fell behind 11-0 with Daniel in the starting line-up. Not a good thing, regardless of who started or did not.

If you read the subject line of this thread, Dudley, then you know that I agree with you. He won’t do it. I’d be “shocked” too.

But that’s not the question; which is, would it be a smart/successful move? You know, like a lot of other hypotheticals that people throw out here every day. This is, after all, an internet message board where fans speculate about such things.

I’ve given the reasons I think it would be a good move. Other than the “why change what you’ve done to be successful” line, why wouldn’t it work? For example, we’ve seen Macon start, and not start. As you pointed out, we saw it with Gafford earlier in the year. In both cases, I don’t think it materially or negatively impacted the productivity of the players involved over the course of a game.

The key thing is that early in the year, when Gafford did not start, Trey was still getting the starter’s minutes. In the scenario I propose, Daniel would retain the majority of the minutes. He just would sit out until the first media time out to avoid putting himself in jail, which he has done more often than not.

Obviously the best way to keep Gafford from fouling 25’ from the basket is not to put him in that position to defend someone that far from the basket. Most every time he’s trying to defend someone quicker with ball handling skills. There’s no doubt we are a better team with DG on the floor and it may be that we need to start in a zone and keep him in the middle the first four minutes to get him through that period hopefully foul free. I don’t think we will see anything different today than what we have done the last 10 games though, it’s difficult to change when things are clicking. WPS