Tonight was another throwback game... To the days of the last 3 years... Oh wait, that's not throwback, that's just continuing what you've been doing all along.
Props to UNI in this one. They played another solid game. What ISU has been showing all year is that if they're challenging physically, they will bow down. Honestly, I felt like UNI beat us the whole game. They had a lot of open looks within 5 feet of the basket that rimmed out, especially Egelseder. I really felt fortunate that ISU had the lead going into the half, because it felt like we were losing.
And that's really the story of the game. Had we edged it out at the end, it still would've felt like a loss. My big problem with this team, is that there's a lack of identity. What are we? If we're a transition team, then we can't be so sloppy. If we're a half-court tempo offense, that's trying to work inside-out, then we need to have guys move around more when they don't have the ball.
When we're in the half-court offense, here's what happens. DG dribbles at the top of the lane. Lucca stands around in the corner. Brackins tries to establish post position, Gilstrap hangs out on the wing, with Hamilton running around trying to set high post screens. There needs to be more than that. What happened today was that UNI defended the perimeter well, along with the post defense doing a good job against Brackins. I feel like Gilstrap is the only one that gets that you need to attack the opponents. The problem is that he's been kind of sloppy off the dribble and given up some turnovers that have led to some transition buckets.
Our defense for the most part is OK. In the 2nd half, we UNI did get too many offensive rebounds, but generally we're doing OK in that department. We've given up some easy baskets, and could improve for sure, but it isn't our biggest weakness. If you are holding your opponents to the mid-60s or so, that's pretty good.
What's bothering me the most, is we have a team full of guys that can score, not doing so. Like I've said before, there's no identity to this team. Greg needs to address the team, tell them what they're going to do, and then execute. Down the stretch we don't run plays; we just dribble around and jack up shots with guys in our face. When I look at the guys, they don't look like they know what they are doing. Some of that has to fall on the coaching staff.
Last year, we complained there was a lack of weapons, so we couldn't really play that good of an offense. Now we have 2-3 more scorers than last year, and still isn't enough. When for the past 3+ years, I've seen an Iowa State team, regardless of the combination of players out on the court, continue to blow it down the stretch, it's clear to me that the coaching staff isn't getting the job done.
It doesn't get easier now for the Cyclones. They are going to get on a plane, and head west to play against Pac-10 Champion Favorite, Cal. We're learning a lot about our team, and we have a long way to go. If we were more offensive minded, I think we'd be successful.
I was optimistic about this team. I really thought we'd be good enough to finish in the top half of the conference, but we're not looking like that kind of a team. At the same time, all is not lost. This team can get there, but more organization has to be done from the coaches, and players need to improve big time.