Sunday, March 09, 2008

Bench Less

bench (bnch)n.
1. A long seat, often without a back, for two or more persons...

7. Sports
a. The place where the players on a team sit when not participating in a game.
b. The reserve players on a team.

By definition, there is no problem with Arizona's bench. Yeah, that long seat without a back has been replaced by comfortable chairs, but for the most part its accurate. Nowhere in the dictionary does it say that the bench has to come in and score points, or bring energy to a game. The Arizona bench just doesn't know any better.

Take away Nic Wise, who has started only seven games but figures to not see much of the bench again, and the Cats leading scorer off the bench is...?

Laval Lucas Perry.

That's right in the five games that he played, he averaged 4.0 points per game.

Saturday, in yet another loss for the Wildcats, to Oregon, the bench played 33 minutes and scored four points. When Jordan Hill and Jerryd Bayless picked up their fourth fouls, Arizona had no one to turn to. When you point at all the reasons for the Wildcats' problems this year, start by sticking a finger at the depth. There's a reason North Carolina can lose Brandan Wright and not skip a beat. Arizona goes from having first round picks in their starting lineup to having mid major players off the bench. You could argue that the best bench player it has is Bret Brielmaier, and he's a walk on.

So this is what it has come to. Arizona finished the season under .500 for the first time since 1983-84 and will have to play in the No. 7-10 seed game on Wednesday vs. Oregon State. Barring some unforeseen circumstances in the conference tournament and a jarring upset by the Beavers, the Wildcats are still in the NCAA Tournament, but the way they will get there has been anything but pretty.

Bench More:

It may be a few days late to rehash the Lakers dominance of the Clippers Friday night, but there were a few things that stood out and are worth mentioning. The Lakers can thank a large portion of their success to the development of the bench.

You want to talk about energy off the pine. How about 13 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and five blocks for Ronny Turiaf.

And there was the final play of the game.

As the fans chanted "Coby, Coby, Coby," Ronny Turiaf committed a foul protecting the basket with 0.8 left in a 119-82 blowout win.


That's what separates great teams. The Lakers played hard the entire game. It's the same way with the Celtics. Kevin Garnett did more than bring 20 and 10 to every game. He brought energy to practice. The Celtics bench did the same thing to the Bulls. Glen Davis and Leon Powe were swatting shots and playing like it was a tie game even though they were up 20.
Some may say what Ronny did was unnecessary, but I think what he did says a lot about this team. It may have been subconscious, but he said we're going to play for 48 minutes, no matter what.

"We're all in this together and any success that we have as starters or guys that have names, we're not as successful as we can be without those guys so we're going to support them the same way they support us," Derek Fisher said after the game.

As for the Clippers, they have a three headed monster at point guard and man is it ugly. Dan Dickau, Brevin Knight, and Andre Barrett may be the worst point guard rotation in the history of basketball. And that includes my buddy's AAU team. None of those guys would start.

Damn Russians

An Interesting story about Kansas forward Sasha Kaun and the way his father died.

Has winning and losing got out of hand in college athletics? Barry Hinson, the coach at Missouri state was fired after nine seasons.

Granted, I have no way of knowing if there is more to it than meets the eye, but this man had eight winning seasons in nine years, three NIT appearances, and three Missouri Valley Conference tournament championship appearances. His team had the highest Academic Progress Report results in the conference and 46 of 48 players in his 11 years of coaching in D-1 basketball have graduated, according to Doug Gottlieb's story.
This is not Kentucky. We're talking about Missouri State and we're talking about a coach who won consistently. Instead, Missouri State spent $150, 000 of what I'm sure isn't that large of an athletic budget to make him go away. I almost hope there is more to the story, because the peripheral findings show a disturbing trend in college sports.

Better late than never:

Andrew Bynum is still about a month away from playing.

CSUN wins a share of the Big West title: Check out my Daily News article on the Matadors, who earned a No. 2 seed in the Big West Tournament on Senior Day.

As always, an updated Lakers +/- (through 62 games) Lakers: 44-18 1st in West

Fisher +281
Kobe +515
Turiaf +79
Odom +361
Gasol +231
Mihm -16
Walton +178
Bynum +236
Farmar +210
Radmanovic +245
Brown -44
Vujacic +112
Crittenton -40
Karl 0
Ariza +5
Mbenga +3

Up next: vs. Sacramento Sunday 6:30 p.m. PST FSN


Anonymous said...

Heres why the cats wont make the playoffs says Bigsoft.

The Wildcats went 3-7 down the stretch of Pac-10 play to finish under .500, which is not a great place to be. They got Nic Wise back this week but still couldn't handle Oregon on the road. The Cats went 0-6 against the RPI Top 25 but were 10-5 against the rest of the Top 100, a huge number of games and wins in that category. Assuming they beat the Beavers in the 7-10 game in the Pac-10 tourney, they probably will be fine, even at 8-10, but beating Stanford would really make things a lot easier on everyone. The Wildcats also should get some consideration for injuries. Nonetheless, let's drop them down a level until things clear up. Arizona's best nonconference win looked like it was over Texas A&M, but that win is looking dicier by the day. It might be better to focus on the road wins at UNLV and Houston.

roman said...

Anonymous sounds a lot like Andy Glockner and the Bubble Watch page at