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From the Cheap Seats: 4 Thoughts on Northwestern

This one is all about shooting.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

My four thoughts are all on the same subject tonight. Can you guess what that subject is?

  • Eddie Jordan did not value the three point shot. He didn’t like teaching his team to defend it, and he didn’t value it on offense. You have to look at how he recruited to see what his strategy was: long, fast, and athletic guards who can turn you over and then get to the rim for dunks. He valued the three from the small forward position, I believe, but relied on quick fixes like Omari Grier. Since only Issa Thiam was coming in and Pikiell couldn’t find a shooter to play here, it’s really hurt this team.
  • You may look at all facets of the offense as being bad, and that’s true, but shooting the three is killing this team. When the long shots don’t fall, you know you can’t get back in the game easily. Therefore, Rutgers gets desperate on offense, which leads to wild shots, crazy drives to the rim, and turnovers. Which then leads to runouts for the other team. Missing threes and losing leads because of it gets in your head and starts affecting everything even free throw shooting (mentally), and putbacks. Because when the opponents knows you’re going to miss, they can focus on defending your big men.
  • When you can’t make shots, playing the kind of defense Rutgers is playing is nearly impossible to keep up at a high level when you aren’t rewarded. The Scarlet Knights are making their opponents work for every shot and they are doing an excellent job of it. But when the offense doesn’t give you a pick you up on the other end, the team is going to get worn down. That’s what happened tonight. Steve Pikiell is doing a heck of a job coaching this team up, but they are not offensively talented enough and it’s mentally draining them.
  • Geo Baker and Matt Bullock better be able to shoot next year. Rutgers needs to keep bringing players who can make the deep shot. Until then, games like this will continue.

For more, read Aaron’s recap.