image from Yahoo Sports
Every one knows what happened in the first Memphis-Oklahoma State game. Memphis got humiliated. Marcus Smart had a career game. Josh Pastner was left winless against Top 25 teams. And it seemed like Memphis was set for another long season.
So the next question was– How would Memphis respond to a rematch, if they could get a rematch? Well, Memphis responded — very well. They got the win and the monkey is off of Josh Pastner’s back.
Here are 3 things to learn from it.
I had noticed this for a period of time now. And I always wondered this–why do the players all have on different pairs of shoes? Call me old fashion. But, it just never looked right. They did not look as one unit. They looked like a bunch of individuals.
So when the players all had on the same pair of shoes in the game following the blow out, it was a welcomed change. They looked like a single unit. They looked like they were together. They looked like a team.
Lineup (Attitude) Adjustments
During the preseason hype, all you heard about were the 4 senior guards. The talent. The experience. The best guard group in college basketball. Boy, they did not look very good playing together.
I felt with all the senior guards on the floor together made Memphis undersized. Joe Jackson and Michael Dixon are only 6’1. Then Chris Crawford and Geron Johnson are not much taller at 6’3 and 6’4. That is small.
Let me put it in better perspective for you. Oklahoma State’s starting line up for the first game was 6’3, 6’4, 6’5, 6’7, and 6’8. See what I mean.
Memphis made the adjustment with bringing Dixon off the bench and adding 6’8 Austin Nichols as a starter with 6’9 Shaq Goodwin. Great move to add height, rebounding and scoring in the paint.
Not only that. Instead of focusing on being a guard oriented team. The players started using their size. The guards began to feed the post. Let me step back. The team started running a half court set. The 1 against 3,4,5 offense decreased and ball movement increased.
Now, talk has shifted from Memphis having the best guard group to Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols being the talk of the team.
Teamwork makes the Dream work!
During the first Memphis-Oklahoma State meeting, Memphis players barely said a word to each other. No one was encouraging. No one was leading. Nothing. They were just out there.
Second meeting. It was almost comical to see the players waving each other over to the huddle during free throws. Talking to each other. Congratulating each other. They had their arms around each other. They looked like a single unit. They looked like brothers. They looked like they were for each other. They looked like a team.
Congrats, Memphis on an awesome victory!