Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week off? A few things to work on

The 49ers don't play for a week after losing 73-67 Saturday to George Washington at Halton Arena. It's the longest stretch Charlotte has had off since the eight days between the Wright State and Mercer games over the holidays.

The 49ers can spend the week being happy they are still in the mix for the 12-team Atlantic 10 tournament (they're in 12th place with a 2-7 league record). They can also spend the six or so days of practice working on these things (among other things that, I'm sure, Alan Major will think of also):

-- Go stronger to the basket. Charlotte's biggest player -- Chris Braswell -- all the way to its smallest -- Deuce Briscoe and Derrio Green -- don't finish at the rim well. Fouls aren't getting called and, if balls aren't getting swatted away, the shots aren't falling. Layups are missed and George Washington had six blocks on Saturday.

-- Whatever's working with the 3-point field goal defense, keep doing it. The 49ers, who play a lot of zone, might just be fortunate that their opponents don't make a lot of 3s over the top of it. But the 49ers rush shooters and get hands in faces. Charlotte was leading the A-10 in 3-point defense percentage (29.3) entering Saturday's game and GW was even worse (three of 17). That's important because opponents might really be burying the 49ers earlier in games if they were making their 3s.

-- Find a way to get an early lead. It was different in December when Charlotte was erasing double-digit leads and winning, as it was Wednesday against Xavier. But eventually that can wear a team down, and that's becoming the story of the season. It happened again against George Washington, as it did in recent losses against Temple and Duquesne. Come ready to play -- the 49ers were sluggish the first 10 minutes against GW -- and find out what it's like to play with the lead.

-- Keep improving the turnovers situation. The 49ers are getting better, but they still don't take good care of the ball. When they matched Xavier's 11 turnovers on Wednesday with 11 of their own, it was the first time since the Tennessee game (11 games) that Charlotte didn't have more turnovers than its opponent. The 49ers had 14 turnovers against GW, which led to 15 Colonials points. Not as bad as, say, the Duquesne game, when the Dukes scored 31 points off a season-high 26 49ers turnovers. So let's say it's moving in the right direction.


Anonymous said...

Losing to two .500+below league teams AT HOME in the same week is INEXCUSABLE. I don't care if we beat Xavier if we can't put forth the effort necessary to beat the teams we're supposed to beat. We need to stop making excuses.

Dowless said...

This is not really about the game, but I wanted to say kudos to Phil Jones. I saw him supporting the team on the bench (which he may have been doing, and this was the 1st time I saw him). It says a lot about his character. He is still supporting the program which is good to see from a guy who can no longer play.

As far as the game goes, I thought the niners were flat except for the last few minutes of each half. I have said it before that there is no quit in this team and that is good to see.

To Anon 6:20. You do realize that there are only two teams below the niners in league play and GW nor La Salle are one of them. I think your expectations are a little too high. Could Charlotte have beaten GW? Yes, of course because they've beaten better teams this year and this week. However, GW played a smart game. They pressured the ball heavily and got it down to their big men. These are weak areas for this 49er team and GW exploited these well.

Anonymous said...

Phil Jones deserves anything BUT kudos for dumping his team in the final semester of his career

Anonymous said...

If Charlotte keeps losing the way they do against Atlantic 10 teams they won't be in the Atlantic 10 tournament.