College Hoops 2k8: 2009 Edition
College Basketball has always been my favorite sport, but I've really struggled with the last couple versions of this game. 2K7 froze constantly and I never really got to play it much, while 2k8 I simply sucked at and got frustrated. But with EF27's dynasty up and moving again, and with any other games I was playing dying off a bit, I've decided to give this another shot.
When I say I suck at this game, I mean that I first loaded up the latest slider set that people seem to be happy with, put UNC in the NCAA Tournament as a 1 seed, and lost to Oral Roberts by 25 in my first game. I played a bunch more and have improved quite a bit before starting this up.
I haven't played a legacy in a long time, so I won't be suprised if I struggle with recruiting out of the gate and get fired, we'll see :) I do expect my results on the court to be a bit better than in previous dynasties.
With that, I take over the North Carolina A&T Aggies in the MEAC and get to work.
As I've tried to do in the past, I max out Charisma with my initial coaching points:
I hope going to such an extreme early will not kill me as far as offense/defense/player progression is concerned.
Akil Beckwith is a 39 year old 1st year assistant. He is adequate everywhere but charisma:
This is to offset the fact that my other assistant, Dave Klien, is little more than a recruiting assistant:
He had the highest charisma of any coach that was willing to work with me.
I end up changing every game on my schedule. I want to try to find at least a couple winnable non-conference games, and I want to play a number of in state opposition. I intend to try to schedule both Duke and North Carolina every year, and I do that this year, in fact I'll be traveling to Durham to open my season.
Other games I end up with:
at North Texas
vs Portland State
vs Savannah State
Hopefully i can find a couple wins somewhere in there.
NC A&T Roster
PG Austin Ewing - 63 OVR - Soph - 5'11" - Ewing has above average ball handling and speed(both in the low 80s), as well as a decent jump shot.
SG Steven Rush - 70 OVR - Senior - 5'11" - The highest rated guy on the team, Rush is a very good shooter(92 3PT/86 MED) with a lot of speed(87 SPD and QCK). He's an acceptable defender and has good stamina, he'll be on the court as much as possible.
SF Ed Jones - 61 OVR - Junior - 6'7" 215 lbs - Jones seems to pretty much be a warm body until I can find better. Not a single rating above 80, and all of his shooting skills except close range are below 70.
PF Jason Willis - 68 OVR - Senior - 6'6" 208 lbs - Undersized, but he has a good close range shot and very good low post offensive skills. Willis is the 2nd highest rated player on the team.
C Thomas Coleman - 61 OVR - Freshman - 6'9" 220 - So we're a small team, not unusual in these small conferences. Coleman is the best rebounder we have, and he's not great(79 DRB). He's also our best low post defender but only rated 70 there. He'll hopefully develop quite a bit on the court this season.
Off the Bench
SG Glenn Nelson - 60 OVR - Senior - 6'3" 185 lbs - An average backup, he won't be shooting any 3 pointers but has an ok midrange shot, and is an acceptable ball handler. He'll actually be backing up Ewing at PG.
SF Nicholas Wilson - 58 OVR - Junior - 6'5" 210 lbs - SF is a really, really weak position for us.
SF Trahern Chaplin - 57 OVR - Senior - 6'6" 200 lbs - SF is a really, really, really weak position for us. This guy will be getting a lot of his minutes at the 4 slot too which is even worse. He does stand out as a great hustler, but I'm not sure what that rating does for you if your skills elsewhere stink.
SG Angelo Hernandez - 57 OVR - Junior - 6'3" 185 lbs - medium and 3 point ratings in the 50s, this guy is a walkon, slated to see some minuts in a 10 man rotation, and he does have a 78 defensive rating which may be the only thing to make his time on the court acceptable.
PF Kam Sheperd - 57 OVR - Freshman - 6'8" 215 lbs - Pretty lean for a 6'8 guy and it shows. Shepherd has terrible strength, he's an okay rebounder but otherwise looks like a very weak post player. If he had a better midrange jumper I'd be tempted to say he'd be a more natural athletic SF. On this team though,he's a backup center.
I play around with the minutes to try to make this more of an 8 man rotation, and I'll see if we have the stamina for that early in the year.
Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Preview
Listed in order of OVR Rating
1. Hampton - 70 OVR - 73 rated SR SG
2. Morgan State - 70 OVR
3. NC A&T - 69 OVR
4. Coppin State - 68 OVR - 75 rated SR PG
5. Florida A&M - 68 OVR
6. Winston Salem State - 68 OVR
7. South Carolina State - 67 OVR
8. Norfolk State - 66 OVR
9. Bethune-Cookman - 66 OVR
10. Delaware State - 65 OVR - 74 rated SR SF
11. Howard - 62 OVR
12. MD-Eastern Shore - 58 OVR - only one starter rated over 60
With the top 9 teams all rated between 66 and 70, there appears to be huge parity at the top, although a few of those teams have star players that might take them a bit further than their ratings might suggest.
2007-08 Recruiting Preview
We've got 5 scholarships, but we don't have a ton of resources, so its going to be hard to fill 5 spots. With my two most talented players graduating and nothing special coming up behind them, we're really looking for talent anywhere we can find it.
1) Size - We need a big man that can clog the middle and get some rebounds.
2) Shooting - I seem to remember this being super hard to get at this level. We need a good shooter. I'd love an athletic playmaker to fall through the cracks, but I'd settle for a shooter that I can work like hell to get open shots.
3) Floor General - at this level this is probably just going to mean a good ball handler and passer. I'm very thin at PG. Hell, the guy slated to start at the point this year is a natural SG. It'd be nice to bring in a PG and move Ewing over to his natural spot the rest of his career.
I target a couple 3* players, and a lot of 2* players in North Carolina. There's two 1* big men who are local that have decent interest already, and there's a couple HS underclassmen who are local that I feel I need to work on.
More on this as we start offering scholarships in a little while.
November 9th, 2007
NC A&T (0-0) at #10 Duke (0-0)
We aren't exactly opening up with a winnable game, but I want my guys to get the chance to see what good players play like and hopefully they'll learn something.
17:30 1st - We pull out to a 4-0 lead early, we're taking our time on every posession, hoping to get Rush or Willis a look pretty much every time down.
11:00 1st - The expected Duke run occurs, as Duke goes on a 14-2 run and takes a 14-6 lead.
9:00 1st - Rush sinks two threes in a row and we only trail 14-12.
4:00 1st - Duke manhandles our reserves and takes a 22-12 lead.
We get our starters back in to end the half but it doesn't help any.
Duke leads 30-14 at the half. We only shoot 24%, getting 8 points from Rush, and 2 from a few other players. We did a decent job slowing Duke down, they only shot 40% themselves.
12:00 2nd - Duke continues to pull away and we won't be doing anything to stop it. 43-19 now and I'm resting my starters in the hopes that they can go the final 8 minutes or so.
7:00 2nd - Our backups just get owned. And really, while Willis is my best post player and should be a beast vs the MEAC, he can't go inside against Duke's big men. Rush is the only guy I can count on to score. It's 52-21 when I bring my starters back in, presumably for the rest of the game.
6:30 2nd - I forgot, my center, Coleman, had 4 fouls. He fouls out.
We pick up the pace in the final 5 minutes and score a bit more but allow a ton at the end.
#10 Duke 68
NC A&T 30
Duke improved in the 2nd half and shot 49.1% while we shot 24% for the game. We were 2/13 from 3 with 24 turnovers to only 6 for Duke.
Rush scored 13 points, but shot 4-13 overall(3-3 from the line).
PG Ewing scored 5, as did our backup PF Shepherd.
Our 2nd best player, Jason Willis, was completely helpless inside against Duke. He went 0-8 from the floor, scoring 2 points only when he got to the free throw line.
Of course this was expected, and we have a good run of games against teams not nearly this good to get comfortable before conference play.
3* C Lonny Garza is my 'reach' target this year. He's 6'10" and would give some much needed size to the team. He's from Raleigh, and his top two priorities are staying near home and getting playing time.
2* JC Freshman C Scotty Hayes gets my second scholarship offer. He's from High Point and wants to feel wanted and get playing time. He's a 7 footer. We currently have a big lead on him.
2* SG Najeeb Burnett gets my 3rd offer. There aren't any guards that we've built up solid interest with yet, and I'm mainly hoping that the fact that this kid is local gives me a chance.
I've got two more offers and will probably make both of them to guards, but I don't have a great feeling early on about my chances.
November 10th, 2007
Binghamton (0-0) at NC A&T(0-1)
This is a team we match up well against. Both of us are rated 69 overall. We shoot better and are a better offensive team, while they have a defensive edge on us.
Binghamton has an experienced senior PG, Mike Gordon, that will be my biggest worry. Their inside game appears to be a bit lacking.
17:00 1st - Binghamton runs out to a quick 7-0 lead.
13:00 1st - Rush hits 2 threes, Willis gets a couple buckets in the post, and the offense starts clicking like I expect it to vs equal caliber teams. We tie the game up at 13.
10:00 1st - Rush makes his 3rd 3, but we're giving up offensive boards and trail 21-18 as our reserves come onto the floor.
4:30 1st - The starters come back in, trailing 24-23. I think any time the reserves don't give the game away I'll be happy.
NC A&T 28
Rush has 12 points, Coleman 5, Willis 4. Coleman has 4 boards. Binghamton has shot 14 3 pointers, and is only 3-14... we need to stay out on their guards if we're going to win.
12:00 2nd - We trail 40-36 as our reserves come onto the floor. Some stupid turnovers are the difference between being ahead and behind at this point.
4:00 2nd - we've had a little rotation going but have everyone rested now for the final 4 minutes. We've tied it up a couple times but just can't seemt o take the lead. At present we trail 50-46.
We quickly fall behind by 7 as we commit a stupid turnover, Binghamton runs the shot clock down and drains a 3 as time expires. I remember one of my big problems in the past being closing in the final minutes of a game, and it seems I'll still need to improve here. After falling behind by 9 with 1:30 to go, we get the lead down to 3, thanks mainly to the fact that their PF and C couldn't make a single free throw, but can't get closer.
NC A&T 62
The big stat? Binghamton 12 offensive boards, leading to 12 second chance points. A huge problem there.
Steven Rush scored most of our points as we were desparately trying to come back in the final minute, pumping his point total up to 25.
Willis scored 10 points today and added 6 boards.
Our center, Coleman is showing himself to be a solid rebounder, scoring 6 and pulling down 10 boards.
We've got some work to do, but we'll get there. I'm not too unhappy with the performance today.
November 24th, 2007
NC A&T(0-2) at North Texas (0-3)
Rated similar to us, the standout difference is rebounding, where North Texas rates 75 and we only rate 61. Getting these big men I'm recruiting is going to be critical.
11:00 1st - Tied up at 12 as the reserves come in on both sides.
6:00 1st - an 11-2 run by North Texas has us trailing 23-14 when I call a time out and get my starters back in.
After cutting the lead to 6 (28-22), North Texas goes on another big run and takes an 11 point lead into the locker room, 37-26.
Rush has scored 11 points and is the only one able to consistantly make anything today. Coleman has 5, Willis 4.
coleman and Willis both also have 2 fouls, hurting our already weak inside game. North Texas pulled down 9(!!!) offensive boards in the first half to our 0.
And there really isn't much to report for the second half. We never fall behind by more than 14 and never get closer than 7.
North Texas 15
NC A&T 1
North Texas 85
NC A&T 75
A flurry of points in the final 3 minutes allows everyone bigger numbers, but doesn't change anything.
Rush scores 26, going 9-14 from the field, 5-8 from 3. He had a stellar game.
Coleman was big inside, with 15 points and 11 boards.
Willis is struggling, I need to figure out how to best use him. He scored 8 points today, but was only 2-8 from the field.
November 26 2007
Portland State (1-4) at NC A&T(0-3)
Rated slightly better than us overall(73 vs 69) the big concern here is the same as our last game... rebounding. They're significantly better than us on defense as well.
I made a couple changes going into this game, my coach settings were heavily geared towards the fast break, I changed defensive rebounding so that we always crash the boards and never push the ball. On offense I have us crashing the boards a bit more, but not 100%, still being mindful of transition defense.
14:00 1st - We trail 11-9 but I'm happier with our play early here. Our PG, Ewing, picked up two early fouls and has to sit, but I'm happier with our rebounding after the changes made. Portland State's SG has made 3 3-pointers and is killing us so far.
7:00 1st - Coleman picks up his 2nd foul as we trail 22-19. All our starters except Ewing and Coleman(foul trouble) are back in the game.
Gah... after being tied 25-25 with about 5 minutes left, we just fall apart to end the first half. I have 3 posessions in a row where we don't get a shot off and they get fast break points. We end the half trailing 45-35.
Most of our offense has come from our two best players, Rush with 12 points, Willis with 11. We're doing alright but need to cut down on the turnovers, 7 of them in the first half.
16:00 2nd - A horribly ugly start to the 2nd half. We trail 49-35 now and are 0-7 in the half so far from the floor.
12:30 2nd - we score. 54-37.
Just terrible. Terrible!
Portland State 83
NC A&T 55
The rebound situation was better. They had 10 offensive boards to our 6, and only outrebounded us 34-30 overall. They shot 50% to our 38%, and we let them get to the line 25 times which hurt pretty bad.
Rush ended up with 19 points, Willis 15(and 9 boards, solid game there).
It seems I have not improved at this game nearly as much as I thought i had :) Until I get down by 15+ though I'm having fun playing the games, so I am going to keep plugging away, working mainly on avoiding silly turnovers which give the other team free runs.
December 1, 2007
NC A&T(0-4) at Norfolk State (2-2)
Its the random early December conference game a month before any other conference games take place.
Norfolk State is rated 66 OVR, and they are only better than us in one category, you'll never guess which one. They have a SG rated 72 who looks to be their only threatening player.
13:00 1st - 12-11 Norfolk State leads. Ewing picks up foul #2 and sits, and the rest of the starters take a breather.
7:00 1st - Its 17-15 Norfolk State as we start bringing our starters back in.
Rush drains a 3 as the buzzer sounds to end the first half, and we trail 31-28 at the half. We're playing pretty well, but giving up too many easy baskets.
Ewing is our leading scorer at the half with 7 points. Reserve guard Alston has 6, Rush 5. Coleman and Willis have 4 each inside.
12:00 2nd - After tying the game at 37, Norfolk State scores 7 straight to take a 44-37 lead.
7:00 2nd - 57-49 as I start working my starters back into the game for the stretch run. At this point I'm scoring pretty well, but my big problem is that Norfolk State isn't missing anything inside. They're just repeatedly working the ball down low, sometimes to a cutting guard/SF, sometimes a big man, and every shot is going in.
3:30 - We trail 63-57 and are looking to make a comeback here after scoring a quick 6 points. I'm still having massive problems inside(Coleman is 3-11 from the paint) but I've got as much speed on the court as I'm capable of and have gotten a few layups out of my guards.
2:15 - Well, Ewing misses an open three and they score. Then Willis misses a point blank layup, gets his rebound, has his follow blocked, and they score. *sigh* 67-57.
Norfolk State 75
NC A&T 62
NC A&T 33% Field Goal Shooting. Norfolk State 52%.
I did improve on some things this game that I'm very happy with. We only turned it over 10 times, while forcing 14 turnovers. We got outrebounded 33-26 though, and Norfolk State scored 44 points int he paint to only 24 for us.
Reserve guard(but future starting PG, more on that momentarily) Tavarus Alston scored 15 points today to lead the team. Willis scored 11 in the paint, while backup guard Glenn Nelson put up 10.
The biggest problem I had today was that Steven Rush couldn't get anything to fall. He went 2-14 on the day for only 9 points. If he shoots a little better down the stretch we're only down 1 posession in the final 2 minutes.
Early Signing Period
Two of our targets are ready to commit right away.
The first is not a huge suprise, but a bit of a disappointment. 3* C Lonny Garza is going to Longwood, not NC A&T. We had him up to 99% interest but no luck.
Good news though! 7'0 249 pound JC Freshman Center Scott Hayes is coming to NC A&T! Hayes has B- potential and B strength, he scouts average pretty much everywhere for us, but we have crappy scouts so we'll see when he arrives. But he's 7 feet tall, so he's an immediate impact no matter what.
At the end of the signing week we lose 1* Center Stuart Eldridge to Longwood as well. That one was a bit of a suprise, a 1* C who seemed to really like us.
We end the week with 3 offers outstanding. 2* PG Dante Michaud from Atlanta looks to have narrowed it down to Wofford and us. 2* SG Najeeb Burnett is looking at Campbell along with us, and 1* PF George Cohen is looking at Radford along with us.
I'm making a pretty big lineup change.
PG Tavarus Alston is only rated 55 OVR and I really barely looked at him when initially reviewing the roster. But it turns out he has good speed and quickness(the same as Ewing), and is the best passer on the team. I'm moving him to starting point guard in place of Ewing. Ewing is going to move to SF for now and i'm going to run a 3 guard offense. I may change that up again if Ewing's lack of size hurts my defense too badly, but for now, that's where we're going.
December 17th, 2007
Savannah State (4-6) at NC A&T (0-5)
Time to win a game! Savannah State is the worst team as far as overall rating goes that we have played yet, rated 65 overall, and we're at home, with our new speedy good shooting lineup in effect.
13:00 1st - We open up 7-2, then Savannah State goes on a 10-1 run to go up 12-8. Now we're on a 7-0 run ourselves and lead 15-12. Ewing and Alston both have buckets where they've blown by their man in the open court for a dunk, some easy shots have helped a ton.
9:45 1st - We lead 19-16 as our starters come off the court for the first time.
7:00 1st - A 3 point play, a steal and a layup give us the biggest lead we've had over anyone all season, 26-18.
3:30 1st - We still lead 30-26 as the starters come back on to finish out the half.
Just like the last game, Rush hits a 3 pointer on our last possession, and this one takes us into the locker room with a 6 point lead, 40-34.
Willis is the player of the half with 10 points, 6 of them at the line. Rush has 8, Ewing 5.
18:00 2nd - We score the first 5 points of the second half and take a 45-34 lead! Willis got inside and got fouled on our first posession, then after a miss, Alston got out ahead of the defense and got an easy basket.
14:00 2nd - We lead 52-38 as we give our starters a rest. Alston has 3 fouls when he sits down.
11:30 2nd - two savannah state timeouts help our starters rest back up, they're back in for now and can probably go 8 of the last 11 or so, if they need to. We've pushed the lead up to 19 now, 59-40.
I don't know how much credit my little lineup change gets here, we just dominated these guys in every facet.
NC A&T 73
Savannah State 47
Stat of the game:
NC A&T 42 rebounds
Savannah State 23 rebounds
The extra speed and the superior play down low got me to the line a lot. We shot 29 free throws today, going 21/29 from the line.
Coleman and Willis were both monsters, Coleman scored 13 and grabbed 16 boards(!!!). Willis scored 13 and grabbed 11 boards.
Rush scored 11, Ewing 9. Glenn Nelson was solid off the bench again today, scoring 10.
I'm pretty damn pleased to have finally gotten a win, heh.
Congrats on getting the first win under your belt.
Thanks, hopefully I'll get it together enough to not get my ass fired in season 1 :D
December 19th, 2007
NC A&T(1-5) at Campbell (3-5)
Campbell is rated 71, slightly betterthan us. They have a good defense and a good rebounding team. Our team unity is slowly starting to rise. It's up to 31, was 28 at the start of the season.
14:00 1st - An evenly matched game early, a Rush 3 just gave us a 14-9 lead. Each team has committed 4 fouls in the early going and there are going to be a lot of free throws if this keeps up.
13:25 1st - Rush picks up his 2nd foul and sits for awhile. 14-11.
11:30 1st - We lead 20-15 as we rotate our backups into the game.
5:30 1st - We're hanging on to a 31-27 lead as the starters(minus Rush and his foul trouble) come back in.
We get in a bit of a rush toward the end of the half and let our turnover count get too high, and as a result, we trail 38-37 at halftime.
We've got 3 players with 7 points at halftime(Nelson, Coleman and Willis). Rush scored 5 in only 7 minutes of play before picking up 2 fouls.
13:30 2nd - We've fallen behind by 7, 52-45, we've been missing some open shots and they've drained a couple 3s on us, we're working to get the momentum back.
10:30 2nd - 59-51 as we're still struggling to stop them on a consistant basis. Our reserves are all in now.
6:30 2nd - We brought our starters aack in at the 8 minute mark after falling down by 15. We've got it back to 11 but not looking good here.
We get it down to 75-65 with 2:00 to go, and then fail to get the ball over midcourt on 3 straight possessions. That's the story of the game as we had long stretches where we played very well but had flurries of turnovers that hurt us bad.
At some point I mentioned that they weren't missing any shots... we did nothing to stop their two SG's. Their starter scored 24 points and backup scored 15. They murdered us with open jumper after open jumper.
On our side Rush scored 15 but he only went 4-15 from the field, *most* of those looks were good ones too. Ewing was terrible as well, going 0-6 from the floor on the day.
Coleman scored 13 and Willis 11, each with 8 boards.
NC A&T 65
I was going to play every game but I am doingn poorly enough vs teams my level, I go ahead and sim out our game at North Carolina, they win 92-64.
December 28, 2007
Elon (4-6) at NC A&T (1-7)
Elon is rated 68 overall, they are better on defense and we're better on offense but overall we're fairly similar.
13:30 - Rush and Ewing both have hit a 3 and look to be shooting better than last game. We trail 16-15 as we start bringing in subs.
6:45 - Our backups pull off a 7-0 run and allow us to slow things down a bit and let the starters get rested. Elon goes on a little run and takes the lead back, 28-26, but our starters are back in and good for the rest of the half so I'm happy.
And by the half I'm not happy at all anymore. Elon is shooting 57% from the floor. Rush has 14 and is on fire but we're down 7, 45-38.
16:30 - Elon is running a half court trap which is allowing me to get open jumpers every time down. Rush has hit 3 straight 3s in the second half and we now only trail 51-49.
13:00 - After a couple turnovers allow Elon to roll back out to a 59-51 lead, we clamp down and go on an 8-0 run, tying the game up at 59.
8:45 - We miss 3 straight tries to take the lead, including an open 3 that Rush misses and an offensive board by Coleman but a miss on the followup. Our defense holds strong though and finally we get Coleman in the post for a layin to take a 63-61 lead!
5:00 2nd - Nelson drains an open 3 to give us a 71-69 lead as the starters come back out on the floor for the remainder of the game.
At the 3 minute mark, Coleman misses what I thought was going to be an easy dunk(ended up going up weak and dinking it off the rim), and Elon ties it up at 71. We come back though and Elon is back in its half court trap defense, and we find Rush for yet another 3, and he drains it like a pro. 74-71 Aggies.
Elon scores and goes into a fullcourt press. I handle it ok, but as I'm passing over the top to get it past halfcourt, Ewing makes an errant pass that sails out of bounds and it goes back to Elon...
We go back up by 3 and get a big stop with about 1:50 left. We try to work the ball inside on our next possession but can't get a good shot. Ewing rotates the ball to Alston to Rush who gets a fair look from 3 as the shot clock expires... GOOD! 79-73 NC A&T with 1:13 left.
We press and Elon throws the inbounds pass away!!! At this point I run the clock, they make a couple shots but don't have enough time to try to finish a comeback, despite my PG missing the front end of a 1-and-1 late.
NC A&T 81
The story of the game is absolutely the fact that Elon ran a half court trap for a solid 40% of the game, giving me open looks from 3 whenever I wanted them. As long as Rush remained hot, I continued to take them. And boy, did Rush remain hot.
Rush scored 36 points, including 10-14 from 3 point land. Coleman pulled down 11 boards, and Alston had 12 assists, thanks to feeding people out of the trap for much of the game.
We're heading into conference play next. Our next 8 games are against conference opponents that currently have losing records, so this will be an important stretch for us. I'm not expecting greatness or anything but there are some very bad teams in this conference and hopefully we can put up a better than .500 record the rest of the way.
January 12th, 2008
Morgan State (4-9, 0-1) at NC A&T (2-7, 0-1 MEAC)
One thing that stood out is that Morgan State's coach is rated 85, way higher than any coach I'd expect to see in the MEAC(I'm rated 65), I checked out their team, they're coached by former Cal coach Todd Bozeman. Apparently this is his second chance at coaching after NCAA Violations at Cal.
They're rated 68 OVR and we look to be evenly matched.
19:00 1st - Ewing picks up two fouls defending the fast break as we miss a 3 on our first possession and Alston falls over trying to beat the press. 7-0 Morgan State. Nice start guys.
16:45 1st - Rush hits a 3 and we're finally on the board... 11-3 Morgan State.
11:45 1st - Jesus. I bring the reserves in, maybe I should have earlier... its 23-6. Morgan State is 10-12 from the field.
7:50 1st - I am able to get to the line... scoring for the first time in about 7 minutes. 33-7.
That's the worst half I've seen. Early in the half they were gettig a lot of fast breaks off defensive rebounds, they have 3 guys quicker than anyone on my team. I adjusted at around the 13 minute mark to stop crashing the glass entirely and the fast break points stopped, they only got 6 before I figured it out.
FG Shooting in the first half:
Rush was 3-6 including 3-4 from three and he has 9 points.
Oh yeah, we trail 43-17. Morgan State is shooting 56%, way down from the first 10 minutes, but, we're shooting 4 for 26 from the floor.
18:15 2nd - We open the 2nd half on a quick 8-0 run and trail 43-25. We've now made as many field goals in the first 1:45 of the 2nd half as we did the entire first half.
Yeah, i forgot that 20 points is where the CPU puts all its bench players in. Once we cut it under 20 the starters are back. We get the lead down to 16 with 8 minutes left but no closer.
Morgan State 80
NC A&T 61
We shot 29% for the game. That's really all you need to know to know how bad this one was.
14 from Rush, 10 from Alston. Coleman led us in rebounds with 6.
January 14th, 2008
Coppin State(2-11, 1-1 MEAC) at NC A&T (2-8, 0-2 MEAC)
A second straight home conference game. Coppin State is rated similar to us again, slightly better rebounding and coaching, but we've got better shooting an offense.
coppin State is senior led with a team unity of 57, compared to 33 for us, so that could be problematic.
13:00 1st - Its tied at 11, but we should be ahead by a few... a couple bad turnovers on my part haven't helped.
5:15 1st - Our starters get back into the game to finish out the half, but 3 more bad turnovers on our part, 2 3 pointers, and a 4 point play(ugh) have coppin state out in front 29-17.
And an incredibly frustrating first half ends with us trailing 40-29. Turnovers end up about even in teh end, so do rebounds, the difference is simply shooting. They're at 51% to our 37%, though our turnovers hurt us a lot more. Coppin State has 8 fast break points to our 0.
13:30 2nd - We've had the lead as low as 7 but as we bring our reserves back in we trail by 9, 52-43.
9:26 2nd - The backups redeem themselves! I'm able to get SF Ed Jones a couple dunks and we defend and rebound well. Coppin State takes a timeout only up 3, 55-52.
8:15 2nd - Following two straight turnovers and a bucket by backup SF Chaplin, NC A&T leads 56-55!
6:45 2nd - the starters are all back out on the floor. We gave up a 3 pointer and trail 58-56.
4:15 2nd - We get the lead down to 1 before rush loses the ball on a pump fake and Coleman can't convert in the post, 4 straight for Coppin State to go up 65-60.
2:00 2nd - After a 4 point run by us, we give up 2 more to fall behind 67-64. Alston makes 1 free throw to cut it to 67-65, we rebound a missed jumper on their end, and on our next possession Willis goes up in traffic and hits a little 8 footer! 67-67.
1:22 left - We get a quick steal, run a play that has Rush either taking a 3 or feeding the ball into Willis in the post. Rush can't get the open look he wants, dumps it into willis who hits a hook shot with 2 seconds left on the shot clock!! 69-67 NC A&T
0:25 left - We get another big stop on defense, getting the ball back with about 45 seconds to go. We run some clock and are getting into a play to give us a shot as the shot clock expires when Coppin State's PG reaches in with 8 seconds left on the shot clock. That's their 7th foul, and Rush goes to the line where he makes both free throws. 71-67.
I'm thrilled to see Coppin State go down the court and rush a three. I'm even more thrilled when it doesn't go in and we get the rebound! Unfortunately, Willis is my worst free throw shooter and misses the front end. They brick anotehr three, Willis gets another board and this time he makes his free throws.
NC A&T 73
Coppin State 67
Definitely one of the most exciting games I've played. Usually if I fall behind like that there's no coming back. I'm pleased both with my stick play and the play of my backups getting us back into the game in the second half.
Coppin State only managed 2 fast break points in the 2nd half. We got 44 points in the paint to their 22, and once their jump shots stopped falling, we were right in the mix.
21 points from Rush today, 10 from both Ewing and Willis. Coleman led us in rebounding as usual with 8 boards. Rush was 0-2 from three and I had trouble getting off any open 3s this game. What that meant though was that it was a lot easier to drive to the basket, and Rush was able to get by his man and draw a number of fouls, shooting 9/10 from the line.
Had the same problem with 2K7 but found out if you opened the tray when turning on the 360 the problem went away. It only happened when I just left the disk in there, at least for me anyway.
Hopefully you can turn these boys around!
Yeah, I forget when I learned about that trick, but I start my 360 that way every time now, and have for quite some time, definitely something I'd recommend to anyone as well.
January 19th, 2008
NC A&T (3-8, 1-2 MEAC) at MD-Eastern Shore (6-11,1-2 MEAC)
Despite their superior overall record, this is one of the lowest rated teams we'll face all season. 59 OVR, with only their rebounding rated above ours, and we're used to that by now.
Our team unity continues to slowly rise, up to 35 now.
12:30 1st - Ugh, another slow start here. We've only made 1 field goal and trail 14-5. both teams got off to slow starts but MD-Eastern Shore has heated up in the last couple minutes. I've got my backups in and hope the starters can heat it up a bit when they come back in.
7:30 1st - The reserves, mainly our backup C Shepard, are able to shave a point off the lead, its 22-14 when the starters are rushed back onto the court, hopefully shooting a little better than before.
4:30 1st - 3's by Ewing and Rush cut the lead to 4, 24-20.
3:00 1st - FTs from Ewing and Alston, combined with the Shorehawks(MD-Eastern Shore's nickname apparently...) going cold from the floor, and we've got a tie game, 24-24.
Halftime rolls around and we trail by 2, 28-26. After the cold start I'm happy with that.
Rush and Shepherd(backup C) lead the team with 7 points each. As a team we've turned it over 7 times and only forced 1 turnover. That needs to change.
14:00 2nd - We take our first lead of the game, 35-33 as Willis hits a hook shot off the backboard in the post!
12:30 2nd - We lead 39-37 as our backups come into the game.
5:50 2nd - We fall behind 51-47 before getting our starters back in to finish things out.
3:30 2nd - We trail 53-48, our defense has held up well but we've been unable to score.
1:00 2nd - Its not looking good as we trail 62-57 and havent really stopped them down the stretch
:50 2nd - A 2 shot foul for MD-Eastern Shore.. they make the first, msis the second, and get the offensive board and a putback. That makes it 65-57 and all but kills us.
Yeah, not happening.
MD-Eastern Shore 67
NC A&T 57
In the last 3 minutes they went to their star SG over and over and we couldn't stop him. Their star, Ed Tyson, scored 23 on the day, 8 of those in the final 5 minutes.
We were led by backup C Kam Shepherd who went 5-6 from the floor and 3-4 from the line for 13 points. Ewing scored 11, Willis 9. Rush was ice cold again today, 1-10 from the floor and 1-6 from 3, only scoring 5 points.
January 21, 2008
NC A&T (3-9, 1-3 MEAC) at Delaware State (4-12, 3-1 MEAC)
I'm a bit disappointed to have lost to an inferior team last week, but it was a road conference game... and here's another one, against 65 rated Delaware State.
Delaware State appears to have one threat, SF Matthew Washington. He leads them in scoring, rebounding, FG %, 3P %, and FT %. This is a terrible 3 point shooting team, and is actually a team with worse team unity than us.
15:00 1st - A slow start, but we roll off a quick 4 points to take a 9-4 lead.
11:00 1st - We're tied at 12 as we bring our backups in.
4:00 1st - Gah, so frustrating, I can't get a shot to go from anywhere on the court, and they're draining 3s, cutting to the basket for layups, getting offensive boards... we trail 29-18 as the starters come in to finish off the half(it was 22-18 a minute ago...)
We completely come apart and trail 42-22 at the half. The first play after our starters came back in Ewing threw a layup into the front rim, they rebound, we tip a pass into the interior but can't get the steal, it falls to their other post guy instead, he shoots, we block his shot, but we can't recover, it falls to their SF who lays it in. I dunno what to do different here.
Their SG, Johnson, is 3-3 from 3, hasn't missed from anywhere on the floor and has 13 points. We've only turned it over 3 times, which is usually what kills us here... oh, REBOUNDING. they lead 22-11 on the boards. Yeah, we have 11 boards at the half. They have 5 offensive boards and have scored after every one... 10 second chance points.
After falling behind even further early in the 2nd half I quick sim this one out, just too frustrating.
Delaware State 86
NC A&T 56
i haven't given up on this yet, though I do get frustrated on occasion as these sliders give great results but that I sometimes don't seem to have the stick skills, or patience, or whatever... to hang with teams my level. But with no more 2k games coming out, I'm set on getting good at this one :P
I played a game last week that I didn't update for some reason, another close loss, 79-75 vs Winston Salem State.
January 28th, 2008
South Carolina State (7-13, 3-3 MEAC) at NC A&T (3-11, 1-5 MEAC)
Another team we're rated very similar to. 68 vs 67 OVR. Their coach is better, our offense is better, their rebounding is better.
Our team unity is up to 37, SC State's is 32. This may be the first game ever where my team unity is higher.
12:30 1st - We trail 14-11 as our subs come into the game. Rush has missed two wide open looks from 3 and I've missed a few FT's. I'm reasonably pleased with the defense so far.
5:45 1st - I'm extremely happy with the play of the reserves, we hung even with them and led for a short while, its 22-21 SC State right now though.
Halftime: 35-30 SC State. This is one of those games where Rush is just cold. I got him a couple more great looks and he isn't making his shots. If he's shooting like usual we're ahead. I'll need to get my big men going or keep Ewing as my main option if this keeps up.
12:30 2nd - A great run on our part ties the game up. Rush gets a couple early baskets before SC State pushes ahead to an 8 point lead, 44-36. A few inside baskets by Coleman, a great drive and dish giving Willis a dunk, and a midrange jumper by Rush give us an 8-0 run and its 44-44 as SC State calls a time out!
10:30 2nd - Thanks to 2 missed FTs by SC State and a couple buckets by Ewing and Hernandez(backup PG) we push ahead 48-44 before SC State finally ends our run at 12 straight points... 48-46,all our backups are in except Ewing is still in at SF(he has more endurance than most of our other starters).
5:15 2nd - After going up 50-46, SC State scores 5 straight, and its 51-50 SC State as our starters come back into the game for the stretch run.
4:50 - Rush drains a midrange jumper to give us the lead back.
3:45 - Its back and forth as SC State takes the lead again, 55-54, but Rush comes up huge for us, Coleman has a shot blocked inside, he pulls the loose ball out of the scrum and hits Rush for a wide open 3 to go up 57-55!
I get Ewing a couple shots that he can't make, and commit a stupid turnover and all of a sudden I'm giving another game away late, 61-57 with 45 seconds to go. SC State misses a shot and I get Rush an open jumper that he makes. 61-59 with 25 seconds left. We foul and they miss the front end of the 1-and-1. With 7.5 seconds left I get Coleman the ball inside, and he banks a shot off the backboard to tie it up!
SC State misses a shot at the buzzer and we're goign to OVERTIME.
3:00 OT - They score first, and I sit Rush for the first couple minutes to rest up. Ewing drains a 3 pointer to give us a 64-63 lead, and SC State throws away the inbounds pass. Our ball, and Rush is back in so our starters are out there for the duration now.
1:50 OT - They score to take the lead, but we beat their press for an easy bucket and go right back up, 66-65. SC State calls a time out.
We score again to go up by 3 points, but a 3 by SC State ties it up. After each team fails to score, we get the ball with the shot clock off. I hold it for the last shot but don't really get a good one, Rush(who else?) ends up taking a contested 3 pointer that doesn't go in.
DOUBLE OVERTIME - 68-68
4:40 2OT - Willis has a shot blocked but Coleman is there for the putback. We score first and SC State uses a timeout. I love seeing them take timeouts, as it rests up my guys so i don't have to worry about subbing.
2:00 2OT - a bit of back and forth continues. Rush drains an open 3, to give us a 3 point lead. SC State scores the next 4 points before Rush drains another open 3 and we are up by 2 points.
1:15 2OT - SC State uses the entire shot clock and can only manage a bad shot over a doubleteam. We get the rebound and I go to the hot hand, and Rush drains his 3rd 3 pointer of the 2nd OT to give us a 5 point advantage!!
After another solid defensive sequence, we run the shot clock down and get a much better shot this time around, who else, our OT Scoring machine Rush drains a 17 footer and we win in a classic.
NC A&T 83
South Carolina State 74
After complaining about his poor first half(Rush had 6 points on 2-8 shooting at the half), Rush took over the game, only missing 3 FGs between the 2nd half and both OT's. He ends up with 32 points on 12-23 shooting, 4-6 from three and 4 free throws. He also has 6 assists to lead the team.
Ewing had a big first half and made a couple clutch shots in the 2nd half, he finishes with 15.
Coleman scores 14 and grabs 13 boards, a huge day for our center, while Willis scores 10 with 7 boards.
A big win for us, especially given the close 2nd half. These games I have been giving away too often with stupid stick mistakes.
February 2nd, 2008
Howard (6-13, 2-4 MEAC) at NC A&T (4-11, 2-5 MEAC)
Howard is one of the worst teams in the league, rated 63 OVR and not really good anywhere. Our team unity rises to 39 while theirs is only 26. A 2 game winning streak would certainly be a step in the right direction.
10:30 1st - I can't seem to get my offense going against these guys. Set plays aren't working out well and Im not getting good looks out of an open offense... its 19-10 as I call on my backups to do something different.
4:30 1st - Ugh, just not good. We fall down 34-20 as we can't seem to stop them from getting open looks in the paint.
We make a small run to end the half and trail 38-27 after 1. Howard is shooting 60% from the floor, and I'm going to switch to a 2-3 zone to start the second half as they are just eating us up inside with interior passing, I want to make sure we have guys down low at all times.
17:30 2nd - Well I look like a genius after switching to the zone. We've opened the 2nd half on a 9-2 run and only trail 40-36 now.
14:30 2nd - We are absolutely on fire. Its a 22-2 run since the second half started and we have a 49-40 lead.
11:45 2nd - 35-6 run for us in the 2nd half now and we lead 62-44. The backups come in and the starters are cheered heavily as they come off the floor.
I pretty much stalled the rest of the way, both to hang on to the big lead and also to maek sure I got done before the Clemson/UNC game started :D
NC A&T 81
Rush scores 24 points, 8-14 from the floor, 4-7 from 3 with 4 free throws.
Ewing scores 20, 7-13 from the field, 3-8 from 3, and 3 free throws. Just a great second half today, a GREAT second half.
February 4th, 2008
Hampton (11-7, 6-1 MEAC) at NC A&T (5-11, 3-5 MEAC)
Hampton is rated 70 OVR with a better offense than the teams we've faced lately. They play much better defense than we do and are much better on the boards.
12:30 1st - We trail 20-16 as the backups come in. I was trying to set up a little rotation to keep Ewing and Willis both in the game along with the reserves but there was no dead ball from the 16:30 mark to here, so no dice on that.
8:00 1st - We trail 28-20 as they get out on the break much better than we do and have broken our press for a couple layups and every steal turns into an easy 2 for Hampton. Our starters come back in, they may not be able to go the entire rest of the half but they're back for now.
We cut the lead to 5, they push it back up to 10, we cut it to 7 with 5 seconds to go and they hit a 3 pointer from half court :P
42-32 Hampton at the half. The big problem is that their PG is mega fast and out on the break after every rebound and steal. He has 19 points and is killing us.
13:00 2nd - We're lucky to be down 12... Hampton starts the second half on a 12-2 run and we find ourselves down 20. Two 3 pointers by Ewing and a basket by Willis get it back down to 12.
9:30 2nd - I'm simply stunned with the speed Hampton scores here... We cut the lead down to 9, and in a 2 minute stretch we don't even make it past half court 3 straight posessions, Alston gets us past half court but falls down trying to get by his man, and Jones has an inside shot blocked... every turnover leads to an instant Hampton basket and we trail by 21...
And yeah that second half was just embarrassing.
NC A&T 60
Hampton scored 28 fast break points... I just couldn't stop them from getting out on the break.
I got 10 from Alston, 13 from Rush, 11 from Ewing, 10 from Willis today. Their SG Rashad West scored 26, most of them on layups.
February 9th, 2008
NC A&T (5-12, 3-6 MEAC) at Florida A&M (11-7, 6-2 MEAC)
Florida A&M is rated 68 OVR, equal with us. Their offense is worse than ours but defense and rebounding are much better.
After 5 straight home games we're going to have some road stretches coming up, it'll be key to see if we can pull off some road wins to stay out of the MEAC cellar.
Team Unity up to 40 now, A&M's is up to 41. Their SG, Leslie Robinson, is a major scoring threat with great shooting ratings, including 91 from 3. He's averaging 22 ppg and our main goal is to slow him down.
12:00 1st - We trail 13-8 as our subs come in, which is fine by me as we were down 8-0 and then 11-3 early.
5:00 1st - Falling apart early here, its 34-18 as we call a timeout and get our starters back on the court. Robinson has 11 for Florida A&M already, 3 3's.
Really its the perfect ending to the half... trailing by 16, Florida A&M can hold til the last shot, Robinson takes a 3, Rush fouls him, and the 3 is good. 4 point play and we trail by 20.
There's 3 problems with this half:
1) Their star, Robinson has 17 points.
2) They have a 24-15 rebounding edge, including 10 second chance points.
3) Rush is 2-7 for me.
16:00 2nd - We've gotten the ball inside for some easy baskets, and have gotten a couple fast break layups, the lead is down to 14.
9:30 2nd - Another little run and the score is 58-48 Florida A&M. I dunno if we can win this but we're busting our asses to get back in it.
8:30 2nd - So much for that. 3 point play opportunity for A&M, they miss the FT though, get an offensive board, and get another 3 point play opportunity that they convert. Another basket and its now 67-50 A&M.
We made that run early in the 2nd half to try to get back in it but got shut down to end the game.
Florida A&M 85
NC A&T 67
Rush was 5-17 on the day, Ewing 4-12. We're not going to win many games with our best shooters doing that.
February 11, 2008
NC A&T (5-13, 3-7 MEAC) at Bethune-Cookman (6-14, 2-8 MEAC)
An important game as far as staying as far out of the cellar as possible. These guys ar rated 66 OVR, only 66 on offense(compared to our 73) and barely better than us on defense. they look to be a good rebounding team though. All in all we shoudl have the edge.
Their team unity is horrendous, 28, another hopeful advantage for us.
14:00 1st - We trail 13-12 with the ball as we start to rotate out some of our starters. Ewing is 2-2 from 3 and off to a good start.
7:30 1st - Down 26-20 as all our starters get back on out on the floor. We've really struggled to score with our reserves in this one so far.
3:30 1st - Bethune-Cookman burns their first timeout as they had gone up by 10 and we've now cut it to 3... its 33-30. Ewing has hit 2 more big threes and is the star of the half for sure.
We briefly take the lead but they score the last bucket of the half. It's 39-38, Bethune Cookman leads. We've got 14 from Ewing and 8 from Rush, their SG has 16.
15:00 2nd - Our biggest lead... 3, its 50-47 as Bethune-Cookman burns another TO. This game has been entirely about guard play so far. The big men aren't really scoring a whole lot.
9:45 2nd - We had a 59-54 lead before 6 straight gave Bethune-Cookman the lead back. 2 Rush free throws give us a 61-60 lead as our backups are in for a short time.
5:00 1st - The backups score some points which is good, but its their defense which is spectacular. 5 minutes with no points for Bethune-Cookman, and our starters come back in for the stretch run with a 9 point lead, 69-60.
We burn a lot of clock whenever we have the ball, and we let them cut the lead down to 4, 71-67, with 45 seconds to go. But they are forced to start fouling at that point and we're good from the line, and we hang on for a big road win!
NC A&T 76
The stat of the day is that Bethune-Cookman was only 5-27 from 3 point land, hit a few more of those and its a very different game.
Rush finished the game today with 20 points, while Ewing finished with 17. Ewing was 5-8 from behind the arc today and hit 4 very key three pointers in the first half when Rush was having trouble getting open looks.
Willis had a double-double, 10 points/11 boards, our 3rd player in double figures today.
The win moves us to 4-7 in conference play, which is nothing to write home about, but our next few games are winnable and we still have hopes of a middle of the pack finish in conference play.
February 16, 2008
MD-Eastern Shore (9-17, 4-7 MEAC) at NC A&T (6-13, 4-7 MEAC)
This is our first rematch. MD-Eastern Shore is the worst rated team in the conference but beat us by 10 at their place. Rush only scored 5 in that game and their SG burned us for 23 points. We expect a win here today obviously.
18:45 1st - Willis hurts his leg going up for a bucket with two guys surrounding him. Not sure how bad yet, but our front court depth is already non-existant, we don't really want to be playing without Willis for any period of time. 4-0 NC A&T.
15:15 1st - Willis has been "cleared to return if necessary" - We've got a 13-5 lead and hope to blow these guys out, in which case I'm not going to risk further injury.
7:00 1st - We lead 24-17 as our starters get back out onto the floor. We had an 11 point lead before a couple quick baskets.
HALFTIME: NC A&T 40, MD-Eastern Shore 27
We're only shooting 44% from the floor but we've drawn 12 fouls and gone to the free throw line 18 times. We're rebounding well and playing good defense as well. Our backup C, Shepherd, has 9 points, Rush 8, Ewing 7, Coleman 6.
15:30 2nd - We push our lead up to 18, its 53-35. Rush has 6 quick points in the 2nd half, with the rest of our points coming inside.
9:00 2nd - We lead 66-47 as our backups finally see some second half action. I was ready to bring them in at the 13 minute mark but there were no dead balls and I was content to keep going w/ the tiring starters.
The backups play the rest of the way and the lead only gets bigger and bigger.
NC A&T 81
Maryland-Eastern Shore 52
Rush scored 25 today, 17 in the 2nd half. He was 3-3 from 3 point land and 10-10 from the free throw line, he was able to drive and draw fouls very well today.
backup SG Nelson scored 15, hitting 3 3-pointers, a suprise since he's not really a good 3 point shooter. Shepherd and Coleman both score 11, Coleman grabs a double double with 11 rebounds.
1. Florida A&M 11-2
2. Hampton 1-1
3. Winston Salem State 8-5
4. Norfolk State 7-5
5. Delaware State 6-6
6. Coppin State 6-7
7. Morgan State 6-7
8. North Carolina A&T 5-7
9. South Carolina State 5-8
10. Howard 4-8
11. MD-Eastern Shore 4-8
12. Bethune-Cookman 2-11
There's a pretty big bunch up in the middle.
Our remaining schedule:
vs Delaware State
at Winston Salem State
at SC State
vs Norfolk State
Hampton may well be a lost cause for us, but all of the others are winnable. Of course, 4 of the final 6 are on the road. Any finish for us from 4th to 10th in the conference would not really suprise me. I think a reasonable goal is a 4-2 finish, winning our two home games, beating Howard and stealing one from Winston-Salem or SC State.
Our only realistic shot at meeting one of my goals for coaching skill improvements this year is to place someone on the all-conference team. Steven Rush is the most obvious candidate to make the team.
Florida A&M SG Leslie Robinson leads the league in scoring with 22.0 ppg. He also has 1.5 rpg, 0.9 apg, 1.1 spg.
Our own Steven Rush is #2 in scoring with 19.0 ppg. 1.2 rpg, 2.2 apg, 0.9 spg and fewer turnovers give him a solid shot at making all-conference.
We do have two guys on the leaderboard for rebounding:
PF Thomas Coleman leads the MEAC in rebounding with 9.1 rebounds per game. He's also putting up 7.3 points per game and 1.2 blocks per game.
PF Jason Willis scores more than Coleman with 9.2 ppg, and is 7th in the league in rebounds with 7.3.
I was interrupted while playing my last game, I went ahead and simulated to the end, i had a 10 point lead over Delaware State with 5 minutes left in the first half. We ended up winning in the sim 70-45.
February 23rd, 2008
NC A&T(8-13, 6-7 MEAC) at Winston Salem State (11-11, 8-5 MEAC)
We're rated the same, we have very slim offensive edges, they have slim defensive edge, and they have a big rebounding edge as far as the ratings go. This is another team we played close the first time through, losing 79-75 despite a huge effort from Rush(29 points). Their SG, Brian Fisher, put up 26 on us despite fairly pedestrian ratings.
Winston-Salem State has one of the highest team unities we've seen, at 60. We're sitting at 41 now.
17:45 1st - Alston picks up 2 quick(and stupid) fouls and sits.
11:30 1st - We trail 24-15 as our subs come into the game. We're struggling a bit with their full court press, a few poor passes and turnovers have not helped us. We're also struggling inside on defense. They're getting more than their fair share of easy buckets inside.
8:30 1st - We are falling way behind and don't seem to have any answers... 33-17 now.
4:00 1st - WOW, 42-23... we're just getting destroyed. We had it down to 12, 35-23, and they're on a 7-0 run.
Winston Salem State shoots 65% from the floor in the first half, including 5-11 from 3, on their way to a crushing 54-31 lead. They're outrebounding us 18-9(9!!), they have 8 steals, many coming out of their full court press... its just bad. When they're not taking it from me in the backcourt, they're putting back their own misses. 7 offensive boards leading to 9 second chance points for WS State.
Rush has 15 points for me, no one else is doing anything at all.
The closest we got in the 2nd half was 21....
Winston Salem State 101
NC A&T 73
Our starters couldn't even gain any ground on their reserves in the second half.
I see why Rush scored so many in our first contest... the only buckets we could manage most of the game were when we broke their press and had Rush 1-on-1 against their big man. Between that and just finding Rush for a desperation shot when we coudln't run our offense well, he had a huge day... 34 points on 11-26 shooting, only 4-13 from 3.
Ewing scored 9 and a couple guys scored 7. Just an awful, awful game.
With 4 games left in the season, we're 6-8 in conference play. It would take winning two road games but I still have hopes for a 3-1 finish and a 9-9 conference record.
If we're going to make a run at a .500 conference record, it must begin today.
February 25th, 2008
NC A&T (8-14, 6-8 MEAC) at South Carolina State (10-18, 6-8 MEAC)
A critical road game, we're rated slightly better overall, we're better on offense, even on defense, and the only edge they have is the usual, rebounding.
Our home game earlier in the year vs SC State was the game the pulled our season out of the gutter, a gritty 83-74 double overtime win.
12:30 1st - After getting out to a quick 5-2 lead, SC State goes on a 13-2 run and leads 15-7. We're rebounding ok, but not executing well on offense at all.
7:30 1st - Backup SG Nelson gives us a couple huge minutes, getting two fast break layups and an excellent assist to a cutting Kam Shepherd for a dunk in traffic. Our starters get back out on the floor and we're only trailing by 1, 22-21.
We go on a run to take a 29-24 lead and they come right back. Its back and forth for the final five minutes and SC State leads 42-41 as we go into the locker room.
We got excellent play from both Ewing and Rush in the first half, Rush has 12, Ewing 10. A number of other guys have 4.
16:00 2nd - we get off to a GREAT 2nd half run. SC State hits a free throw to end a 12-0 run on our part. Its 53-44 NC A&T
11:45 2nd - Both teams go a bit cold, and its 55-46 as SC State calls a time out.
7:45 2nd - We lead 58-50 as our reserves come in for a couple final minutes before our starters finish the game out.
5:00 2nd - We call a timeout to get our starters back in fully rested. They're just going to be milking clock for the most part though, we've got a 64-50 lead.
With the help of some offensive boards we easily run the clock out.
NC A&T 67
South Carolina State 52
Remember the halftime score? SC State 42, NC A&T 41. We outscored SC State 25-10 in the second half, easily our best defensive half of the season.
Rush was terribly cold today, scoring 15 but going 1-10 from the 3 point line. Ewing led all scorers with 15, and backup SF Ed Jones scored 10.
We're now 7-8 in conference play, at Howard, at Hampton, vs Norfolk State remaining. Hampton leads the conference and is an unlikely win on the road, but Howard is in the cellar and Norfolk State is just above us, both winnable.
March 1, 2008
NC A&T (9-14, 7-8 MEAC) at Howard (9-19, 5-10 MEAC)
We crushed Howard at home earlier in the year, 81-55. Rush and Ewing both had monster games for us, each of them broke 20. Howard really has no offensive threats to speak of and will hopefully struggle to score as much at their place as they did at ours.
13:00 1st - Its been a fast paced first half, our guards are blowing by their defenders for lots of easy buckets, while they're getting it inside for lots of easy layups over our smaller defenders. When we can keep them out of the lane they aren't making jump shots though, and we've got an 18-12 lead.
5:00 1st - Our reserves do a great job out there, extending our lead by 3, its 29-20 when the starters come back out onto the floor.
Rush heats up BIG TIME in the final 3 minutes. He hits 4 straight 3 pointers, all wide open from different parts of the floor, all perfect. We go on an 18-7 run in the final 5 minutes as a result.
NC A&T 47, Howard 27 halfway through.
Rush has 17, Ewing 7 and we look to be well on our way.
12:45 2nd - The lead has gone as low as 14, right now its 16, 53-37. Rush, not surprisingly, started the 2nd half ice cold. Also not surprisingly, I have continued to try to force him to heat back up and taken some bad shots.
7:45 2nd - Our starters come back in, leading 61-42, just long enough to spell our 2nd string so that they can finish out the game. No need risking any injuries here.
We finish off the rest of the 2nd half for an easy win.
NC A&T 73
25 from Rush including 5-9 from 3 point land. Ewing contributed 13 and the rest of the scoring was evenly spread out. Coleman continues to be a beast on the boards with 11 rebounds.
March 3, 2008
NC A&T (10-14, 8-8 MEAC) at Hampton(18-9, 13-3 MEAC)
Hampton is nearly as strong on offense as we are, and much better on defense and on the boards. They beat us by 27 the first time we played, getting 26 points from their star SG Rashad West.
Our team unity has risen to 43, much higher than the first time we played, but theirs is 53 and on the road we don't feel great about this one.
11:15 1st - We fell behind 10-2 and clawed back to within 2, then fell back again behind by 9, trailing now 23-15 as our reserves are all coming into the game. Their star, West, has 9 points already and I don't see what I could have done differently so far...
9:00 1st - We're fighting hard, and trail 29-22 now. My feeling though is basically that we're playing as well as we're going to at this point and we're going to get run out of the gym at any point now. I could try to slow the game down but all of my recent success has come from getting comfortable with my players and getting them in fast break or one on one situations where my guards can go up against slower guys and get to the basket. If someone else is better than me at that, so be it.
5:15 1st - We're down 33-26, we had a couple chances to cut the lead down a bit further but Ewing missed two open shots in a row. The starters(minus Ewing who I rotated in with the reserves for some more offense) are back on the floor for the rest of the half.
We keep it around 7 most of the half but they run off the final four points. 46-35 Hampton. Sadly, i feel I've played about as well as I'm going to play. These guys get out on the break well, defend the break well, and run their half court sets to open shots and easy baskets consistantly.
I've got 11 from Rush, 7 from Coleman, and 4 from Ewing and Willis each.
Their star West has 14 and it kinda surprises me that its not more.
13:45 2nd - We fall down by 14 before Rush sinks a couple 3s to get us back under double digits. I had Ewing wide open from 3 with a chance to cut the lead to 6 but he missed... our backups come into the game down by 7, 58-51.
7:00 2nd - We're down 72-59 as our starters return.
4:00 2nd - We get the lead down under 10, 77-68. Its unlikely but we do have some explosive scoring ability and we're still fighting.
3:00 2nd - Heh, explosive scoring... they have it too. 83-68. Doh.
hahaha well then. Hampton ends the game on a 21-0 run in the final four minutes. Just ridiculous. We had 4 straight possessions where we failed to cross half court before turning it over. Oof.
NC A&T 68
It wasn't as bad as the final score indicated by far, but we were never really in it either. Rush scored 19, Ewing 12, and Coleman had perhaps his best game of the year with 13 points/12 rebounds, including 6 offensive boards.
We expected to lose this one, and I'm very happy with how hard we fought for the first 36 minutes, putting ourselves one good run away from having a chance at the end. The ending was a bit embarrassing though.
One more game left in the regular season, I expect to get it in tonight.
March 6, 2008
Norfolk State (14-12, 11-6 MEAC) at NC A&T (10-15, 8-9 MEAC)
We lost at Norfolk State 75-62 in our first conference game back in early December. We're a totally different team now though and I expect a win in our final regular season contest. I may be expecting quite a bit though as the teams that have had winning records in the MEAC usually play well above their ratings and Norfolk State has managed an 11-6 record. Their numbers don't look that good though...
14:30 1st - We fall behind 11-4 early, not shooting well at all and we've given the ball away a couple times in stupid spots.
12:45 1st - Wow what the hell is wrong with us today, Norfolk State isn't that good... we trail 18-4.
Well, at the 3 minute mark we get the lead down to 10 for the first time in forever. Norfolk State goes ice cold and we finally stop turning it over... we end up cutting 4 more points off the lead and its a close enough game at the half that we're in it just fine.
39-33 Norfolk State. Ewing has 9, Rush 6, Shepherd 6. We're only 1-7 from 3 in the half though, and all of those 3's were wide open.
15:30 2nd - It often happens when Rush has a bad first half... he's already hit 4 open 3 pointers in the 2nd half, 4-4. Its not enough to push us out into the lead, but we've clawed back to a tie game, 49-49.
11:30 2nd - Rush is now 6-6 from 3 in this half. Unfortunately our defense has just not been good enough. We trail 58-55 as most of our backups go onto the floor.
7:45 2nd - 66-64 NC A&T leads! We fell behind 62-57 and have finally started locking down on defense a bit. Ewing hit an open 3 and Rush hit two layups and we've got the lead!
5:45 2nd - 73-64 NC A&T! Norfolk State throws away two inbounds passes in a row, calls a timeout, comes down and misses a shot and we score again, we're now on a 16-2 run.
3:00 2nd - 77-70 NC A&T as all 5 starters are finally back out on the court together.
We seemingly have the game wrapped up, but we're eating clock and not scoring and we let them back into it. Its 79-76 with 10 seconds to go in the game. Willis misses a 10 footer as the shot clock expires, they get the ball and Rush commits a foul to keep them from shooting a 3. They make the first free throw, then disaster strikes. They miss the second, get an offensive board, get fouled on the putback and the shot goes in! There's 1 second left and its tied at 79. Thankfully, they brick the FT and we're going to overtime.
3:00 OT - We fall behind by 4, Coleman scores to make it 85-83 and norfolk state uses a timeout.
0:52 OT - Again we fall behind by 4, but Alston goes 1-2 from the line, we get a stop, and Willis gets fouled and makes both his free throws... 89-88 Norfolk State, they have the ball.
0:43 OT - They come down and drain a quick 3... 92-88.
0:32 OT - Rush has their center on him for some reason, he drives by him easily and draws a foul. Both free throws are good... 92-90.
0:20 OT - we foul their SG, he hits both, Rush gets an open 3 on our end but misses.
We hit a late 3 and foul again, only trailing 93-91 with 8 seconds left. They miss the front end of the 1 and 1 but get the offensive board(infuriating way to lose IMO). They hit the free throws the second time around and we lose.
Norfolk State 95
NC A&T 91
I *REALLY* blew this one at the end of regulation. I thought i had the game in hand, and really did, but one sloppy pass let them score a very quick 2, then things went to shit and we let them back into it to force overtime.
Rush had what may have been his best game of the year, scoring 34 points on 12-24 shooting(6-11 from 3). Ewing put in 18, and we got 5-7 points from a number of other players.
2008/09 MEAC Final standings
1. Hampton 15-3 (20-9 OVR)
2. Florida A&M 13-5 (18-10)
3. Norfolk State 12-6 (15-12)
4. Winston Salem State 10-8 (13-14)
5. S. Carolina State 9-9 (13-19)
6. Coppin State 9-9 (10-19)
7. Morgan State 9-9 (13-17)
8. Delaware State 9-9 (10-20)
9. NC A&T 8-10 (10-16)
10. MD-Eastern Shore 6-12 (11-22)
11. Howard 5-13 (9-22)
12. Bethune-Cookman 3-15 (7-21)
We play Delaware State in the first round of the conference tournament. We came so close to the 9-9 conference finish, who knows where we would have been seeded then. Really though after the 3-10 start overall, I'm happy to have finished 10-16. If I can recruit decently enough I may just be able to avoid getting canned in the next season or two and maybe this will take off.
Well this is going to be an anticlimactic end to my first season. I lost my writeup about 80% through. I played Delaware State in the first round of the MEAC tournament, and played a near perfect first half. We led 45-30, Ewing had 20, Coleman 10, Rush 0(!!) but the offense was executing brilliantly. Delaware State slowly chipped the lead down but still trailed by 10 with 8 minutes left. At that point everything fell completely apart, we couldn't find the bucket and they couldn't miss. We ended up down 4 with 3 minutes to go and it jsut got worse from there as we didn't make a single shot in the final 2 minutes.
Delaware State beats us 82-71 to end our season.
Hmm, the offseason may be hit or miss too as I might have simmed a bit far ahead, lets see how much of this stuff is lost once I'm done with all the offseason steps before recruiting starts.
Coaching Skill Increase
I'm informed that Center Thomas Coleman makes the conference All-Freshman team, which accomplishes one of my goals. I have 3 attribute points to spend and I put them all in Charisma, making me C- everywhere except charisma where I'm an A+. Obviously we'll need to start to balance that out next year :)
I'm also informed that North Carolina wins the national title, woohoo! I assume I can go back ad check the bracket shortly.
Star SG Steven Rush is the big loss of course. Starting PF Jason Willis graduated too and he played well for us this year but I believe we're pulling in some much needed size that is going to change the complexion of our front court. Backup SG Glenn Nelson is our 3rd graduating senior, he put in some decent minutes as well but hopefully isn't going to be a huge loss.
Hopefully I can get more on the roster before recruiting starts.
Assistant Coach Changes
I fire my recruiting assistant, as there's a new guy available who has a B- in Charisma, better than I had before.
Ok here we go, I just didn't remember how much data was available after the end of the tournament.
PG Tavarus Alston 4.7 ppg, 2.7 apg, 0.8 spg - I'd like it if Alston could become a greater scoring threat, but for now he is speedy and takes care of the ball.
SG Steven Rush - 19.4 ppg - Rush was my star, and at times I relied on him too much. When he had a good game i almost always won. If he wasn't hitting his shots I struggled mightly to find other ways to score.
SF Austin Ewing - 10.2 ppg - Ewing was a 2 guard playing the 3 this year in a 3 guard offense. With Rush graduating he'll move over into the SG role and will be my main scoring threat next season.
PF Jason Willis - 8.4 ppg/6.8 rpg - On a bigger team Willis could have been a 3, he was only 6'6 and a bit undersized vs some teams. He was my 2nd most talented player though and had a number of good games for me.
C Thomas Coleman - 7.3 ppg/8.9 rpg. Coleman was only a freshman so I expect better and better things out of him. As we're bringing in a 7 footer Coleman, who is 6'9" will be moving to the PF starting role next year most likely.
PF Kam Shepherd - 5.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg - a 6'8 freshman, Shepherd will likely be a backup big man throughout his career here. He has some decent post moves and I like having him off the bench.
SG Glenn Nelson - 4.7 ppg, 1.1 apg - Nelson averaged 13 minutes per game and was at times my only shooter in the game off the bench. He couldn't hit the 3 point shot which frustrated me but if i could get him open mid-range looks he would score.
SF Ed Jones - 2.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg - Jones is the type of player I struggle a lot with. I like athletic small forwards who can score. Jones feels like a post player stuck out on the wing when he's in the game.
No one else averaged more than 2 points per game for me.
Delaware State's Greg Jackson, for reasons unknown, is the coach of the year with an 11-21 record...
The player of the year is Florida A&M's Leslie Robinson, a SG who averaged 21.1 points per game and led the league in scoring.
Our very own Thomas Coleman was the Freshman of the Year with his 7.3 points and 8.9 rebounds per game as our starting Center.
SG Steven Rush was 2nd team SG(Player of the Year Robinson was 1st team) while Thomas Coleman was the 2nd team PF. He played Center all year but he's listed as a PF so I guess that is where they stick him.
NCAA Tournament Recap
Tennessee, Louisville, North Carolina, and Georgetown earn the 1 seeds in the tournament.
Norfolk State pulled a couple upsets to win the MEAC and earned a 16 seed, getting throttled by Tennessee 111-57 in the first round.
All the 1 seeds made the Elite 8. North Carolina beat 2 seed Duke(god I hope that game never happens in the real world) to make the final four. Louisville beats 6 seed Alabama. 7 seed Indiana upsets 1 seed Tennessee, and 3 seed Arkansas beats 1 seed Georgetown.
1 seed Louisville beats 7 seed Indiana 78-60 in one semifinal.
1 seed North Carolina beats 3 seed Arkansas 81-76 in the other.
North Carolina beats Louisville 96-85 to win the national title.
Tyler Hansbrough earns player of the year honors.
I've already landed 2* JC Freshman Center Scott Hayes, a 7 footer from High Point, NC.
As recruiting starts I am in some trouble. I've got 4 other scholarships available and my top target immediately signs elsewhere(I had him up to 95%, didn't quite get there).
My other two top targets look unlikely to sign. I go find a couple guys who have reasonable interest in me and no other offers and hope that I can latch onto them.
In week #2 of recruiting I lose another scholarship target, expected but concerning.
In week #4 I land one of my late pickup targets, a 6'8 SF who I know very little about. He scouts as having B- shooting and B- Athleticism though which for a 2* guy interested in NC A&T might be ok.
Going into the last week all my other tagets have signed elsewhere. I'm pretty desparate to land a guard and go for the highest rated 2* guard i can find with no scholarship offers that has any sort of reasonable interest in me. Basically, I'm begging the kid to come and praying he doesn't suck. Always a sound recruiting strategy.
My brilliant strategy works as I do land my target SG.
Incoming Recruiting Class
All of my recruits are 2* guys.
C Scott Hayes, 7'0, JC FR - Hayes scouts out prety well really. B- potential, B rebounding, B- skills and B- defense, with C shooting and C+ Athleticism. I think that's ok for a guy with a ton of size coming in.
SF Lucious Gooding - 6'8 Ranked #583 overall: B- shooting, B- Athleticism, C+ Defense.
SG Johnny Colter - 6'5 - ranked #560 overall: B- skills, B- defense, B- athleticism. This is our desparation guy, we actually dont know how his shooting scouts out.
With that we move on to next season to see how these guys stack up.
Washington State brings in the best recruiting class in the nation.
Texas Tech, Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Marquette, and Tennessee follow behind.
I'm happy to see that I have to scroll a long way down before finding anyone in the MEAC. Winston-Salem State appears to have snagged 2 3* players. That is light years ahead of anyone else inthe MEAC. I am very, very pleased to see North Carolina A&T as the second MEAC team that shows up on the list.
We went 1 for 3 basically with our new recruits:
C Scott Hayes - 65 OVR - Hayes is going to be a 3 year starter at center and its really not even close. Hayes and Coleman could give us one of the better inside games in the league.
SG Johnny Colter - 53 OVR - Turns out he's not much of a shooter, we were going blind after him here so I can't say I'm suprised.
SF Lucious Gooding - 51 OVR - Another big disappointment. Not much of an athlete at al, though he has a decent mid-range jump shot that we can make use of.
Colter and Gooding will both redshirt as I can't imagine them getting any valuable time this year.
PG Tavarus Alston - Junior - 55 OVR - Like last year, Alston is our best ball handler and passer and has good speed. He's not going to score a ton but we're a better team when he's on the floor.
SG Austin Ewing - Junior - 64 OVR - Ewing takes over the role Rush played last year, though hopefully with our improved inside game we won't rely on Ewing as much. He is our best shooter and is as fast as Alston, so he is a good threat to shoot the jumper or drive past his man as the situation calls for it.
SF Ed Jones - Senior - 62 OVR - As I mentioned elsewhere, Jones is a bit out of place for me. I like more athletic SF's, this guy is more of a mini-PF.
PF Thomas Coleman - Soph - 62 OVR - Coleman is the returning conference Freshman of the year, and at 6'10" he'll be great as our power forward. He's a very good rebounder and should be able to dominate smaller teams.
C Scott Hayes - Soph - 65 OVR - 7'1" 247 lbs. Hayes comes in not only with size but with decent skills for this level. Great close range shooting, well above average ability to shoot in traffic, and a decent rebounder(Coleman's rebounding ratings are higher though). I'm really excited about having Coleman and Hayes on the floor at the same time.
PF Kam Shepherd - Soph - 58 OVR - Shepherd is a nice post player off the bench, he did a decent job last year and was our leading bench scorer. I expect the same this year.
SF Nicholas Wilson - Senior - 58 OVR - Wilson is a bit like Ed Jones. He is a guy that I dont really have a good place for in my ideal rotation, but on this team he will be on the floor a lot. He has an average mid-range jumper and acceptable speed and ball handling.
SG Angelo Hernandez - Senior - 58 OVR - Hernandez doesn't really do much well besides handle the ball and play defense. As such, he's a good backup PG.
SF Robert Johnson - Junior - 54 OVR - He'll see some minutes by default.
C Cato Cruz - Freshman - 52 OVR - Cruz is a walkon who will also see some minutes by default. He has a good inside shot and Cruz and Shepherd will make an acceptable front court combo against small/weak inside teams.
Ratings wise the team is worse than last year, and the loss of Rush obviously is going to hurt us. But I'm hoping we can improve a bit this year and pound the ball inside and hurt a lot of the smaller teams in the league. I'm also hoping that my A+ Charisma leads to an increase in talent to go along with this roster that only has 1 senior starting.
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