Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Niners loss not end of the world

It's time for some perspective.

Yes, Charlotte blew a late-game lead against a quality opponent in Dayton - a game the 49ers could have and perhaps should have won.

Getting a road win in the Atlantic 10 over a good team -- the Flyers were 13th in the latest RPI rankings -- has been a tough road to hoe for anyone this season. For instance, Duquesne loses at St. Bonaventure on Saturday then demolishes first-place Saint Joseph's at home on Wednesday night.

For the second straight game, Charlotte's leading scorer, Leemire Goldwire, had a bad shooting night. He followed up his season-low five-point performance against Richmond with eight points against Dayton.

When your top scorer -- and one of the top-five in the conference -- has an off night, it's going to require a lot of extra work from others on the team, particularly on the road.

But some of the comments that have been showing up from Charlotte fans after the win have just been astonishing.
One thread on was entitled "HORRIFIC LOSS." Another is sarcastically titled, "Thanks Leemire." And in others, fans are actually debating why coach Bobby Lutz doesn't bench Goldwire for his poor play.

Are you kidding me? Bench the guy who gives you 19 points a game? The guy who has provided the winning margin in far more games this season than when his actions may have contributed to a loss?

This is not the end of the world. What this is, is a team still trying to find itself. It has great days (wins over Clemson, Davidson, Temple and Saint Joseph's). It has bad days (losses to Monmouth, Hofstra and blowing a late-game lead at Dayton).

It is a team growing up. A team that was a preseason pick to finish 10th in its league, that is now being trashed by its fans because it hasn't exceeded expectations ENOUGH.

To act like Wednesday night's performance was somehow reflective of some disastrous turnaround with the team is just shortsighted. This team is inconsistent. It is young. It picked up a great point guard eight games into the season, when the team was running well with another one the first eight games.

You can't call for a coach's head after one loss, then demand a contract extension after a win on a regular basis. It's like the little boy crying wolf.
You won't be taken seriously. Nor should you.


Unknown said...

it's sad people have all these comments about how the program is run and when they get called and proven wrong no one wants to step up to the plate and take blame for their incoherent rants and accusations.

jfickett said...

I hope Shamarr Bowden is everything he is stacked up to be and then some, because the last two games, previews of "life without Leemire" have been scary. I understand that the team is young, but its so hard to be optimistic when one player who accounts for 40% of our scoring on any given night can't shoot the ball. The shoots he's been putting up look almost like he's forcing it, and he has to because there are no other consistent outside threats on the team. Its discouraging, as a Niners fan and student, to see us lose televised games and Homecoming games knowing that our loyal (sarcasm) fanbase wont fill Halton after seeing performances like this. I hope tonights loss (now 8, and all of them could/should have been wins) doesnt spoil our chances at the NCAA tourney. I want Lutz to stick around, but our program really needs to prove itself in a conference that is becoming one of the premier leagues in the land. Losses like tonight aren't awful alone, but lets face it, in the scheme of things, they are gonna come back and bite us come Selection Sunday.

andy said...

Jim knows as well as anyone that a fan-based message board is roller coaster of emotions from game to game.
That said, what the fans are upset about is the problem that the 49ers can never seem to shake - being good enough to beat the best, but playing poorly (or just coming up short) when they could have played better.
Losing after being up 11 points isn't reason to get rid of a coach or bench a star. Being mad because your team just blew a great chance against a good team because of some ill advised shots is also a good reason to be pissed off.

Anonymous said...

That was quality jim, and I agree with you 100%.

On another note, jfickett - I have to dissagree with your "life without leemire" statement. We'll be fine. Dont get me wrong, lee will be greatly missed as a player and leader, but we're not going to be run into the ground by any means. Look at our loss to richmond, and think about how many shots were missed between mack and lee combined from the 3, as well as how many of those rebounds we didnt get - then think to yourself that we barely lost that game. We have more guys that have stepped up this season than I've seen in a while - our bench runs deep. We'll be fine, I assure you.

jfickett said...

I think next year could be our year to earn some national respect and attention, with Mack and Coley being seniors. But we've got to find some consistency from behind the arc. Maybe Andersen could get some more PT? I dont think Dijuan Harris has missed a 3 all year... Bowden is a great shooter with good range. I just dont know if Mack is ready to be in the Senior Leader role he will have to assume next year, every time you look he's giving Bobby lip or sulking on the bench. He's going to be the biggest key next year, and he's been shooting very poorly since that 6 three point game against Fordham. I want to be optimistic, but I don't want us to settle for "just fine." I want my time at Charlotte to be the time when we finally make the leap onto the national stage, and stay there.

Anonymous said...

The calls to bench Leemire for poor play is silly. To sit him down for a few minutes to send a message that making shot selection decisions as if he were a freshman is another story. Yes, he is forcing his shot but for what reason? It's not like we weren't scoring from inside the 3 point line. He was successful on his one drive to the basket. If the 3's aren't dropping then find your points another way. Finally, is it just me or has Mack started viewing himself as a one man who can take anyone one on one from 30 ft. out?

Justin Ritchie said...

Leemire is too good to bench permanently or even for a majority of a game. Even when he isn't scoring he has amazing defensive pressure that changes the game... and the little guy can rebound. That being said, Lutz needs to talk to him about shot selection. Taking 30 shots and hitting 4 is just not helping a team. A coach has to sit his players when they are taking poor shots, even if it is your historically best shooter. Will Lee get it together for the Bonnies? I think so. It's not the end of the world and we can still win enough games to finish 4th or better in the A10 and have a shot at the tourney. On another not, look at Richmond, they just beat Temple at Temple and are looking pretty scary. It's not like we are losing to cupcakes.

Anonymous said...

Jim, you're such a homer...of course this is a bad loss. We led pretty much the entire game. It's up to Lutz to come up with a game plan to finish this off. HE CAN'T DO IT! Who gives a s**t where we were picked to finish preseason...quit using that lame excuse you freakin homer!! Write something objective for once. You think the Giants or the Rockies cared about preseason rankings??

Real Niner supporters know this team and know capabilites not just this year but the last 10 year Lutz era. If you like mediocrity then your on the minority bus my friend. Even if we were sitting pretty for the tourney we'd be 1 and done under Lutz's coaching

Anonymous said...

Benching Lee to send him a message will not help. He's a senior captain and SHOULD know better than to take the shots he did down the stretch. We shot ourselves out of a win last night. Defense late in the game didn't help either.

Also, everyone is in the whole arena knows Lee is going to shoot with the game on the line. How about using him as a decoy 1 freaking time!!! It's time for others to step up if they can get a chance.

Anonymous said...

I will agree with one thing Jim, it's not the end of the world...just the continuation of a long history of underachievement. What tears me up is not these individual games where our "star" player is cold one night, but the conistently poor shot selection and the conistent reliance on the 3 point shot for going on a decade now. It hasn't changed. And it doesn't look like it ever will with Coach Lutz.

You're not ignorant of the what ifs about about this game so I don't think I need to go over the details. Long story short, there was NO need for a cold shooter to continue to fire up 3 point shots in order for us to win this game. But again, that's what we did.

Blame it on the player if you wish, but that's not where to put the blame IMO. The coach is responsible for enforcing right decisions for players. And no I don't mean necessarily benching Leemire, but darn it, if he keeps taking those types of shots, a few minutes on the bench are more than warranted.

Again, that's not happening and it never will with Lutz. Shooters have "green lights" at all times. Going back 10 years now we've been mediocre because of Lutz reliance on the 3 point shot; forcing bad shot selection. Jobey Thomas could hit amazing shots, Diego could hit difficult shots, heck even Plavich could hit amazing shots. And when we did, we won some big games. When we didn't we lost, pure and simmple. Leemire however can not as these others could it seems. But we keep firing away anyway.

Is it the end of the world? Nope. Just more of the same, and that's what makes myself and so many other loyal niner fans dismayed.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to making adjustments Lutz is piss poor! Bobby has never had a disciplined team! Bobby Ball - Green light three point jacking can do no wrong favorites. You see this every season!

Anonymous said...

I couldnt agree more!

Anonymous said...

If Leemire was 2/16 from the field and was missing GOOD shots, no one would be calling for him to be benched. The fact is he continues to force up terrible off balance shots early in the shot clock that aren't even close to going in... which is just as good as a turnover. I don't necessarily think he should be benched, but Lutz needs to talk to him and take away his permanent green light. With better shot selection from Lee, the Niners could have won the last 2 games.

Anonymous said...

It's wasn't just the forced bad shot selection by Goldwire but he also commited a dumb foul towards the closing minutes on a break away by Dayton;then he forced a bad shot;then he threw a poor pass that went the other way for a lay up & then came back down & had his 3 pointer blocked. He single handedly lost the game last night. Why does everyone think he is a good shooter. If I had that many attempts I could average his numbers. He is shooting 36% from the field. His scoring number goes up from the 3 pointers because majority of his shots are from beyond the 3 point line. Plain & simple.... Stupid decisions!! You guys can defend him. But I am not! I think Lutz should bench him at times. Even when he scores 30 plus he take a lot of shots & doesn't get close to 50%.If the opposing team can win a player out & another one a non-factor till the closing minutes & still win then we have to be tough enough to win without Lee. We need another shooter & I think it's time to play some of the other guys a little more for shooting.I'd like to see Harris get some of Goldwire's mins. This is what I am thinking...

Anonymous said...


You're right on the money and thank you for that. I've been a niner fan since most of these complainers were in diapers. Lutz is one of the best coaches in the nation and he's got a lot of hurdles each year recruiting talent and then turning them into a team that can win. They are just a bunch of younsters afterall and no we don't get the talent that just walks into Chapel Hill and Duke. Never will, but our record of success is still hard to argue with.

Anonymous said...

I'd comment but it would be a repeat of what Nick said on this board. You stink Utter.

Anonymous said...

Takes a lot guts to post as "Anonymous." Way to stick your neck out.

Anonymous said...

starting 4-1 in conference play probably created too many unrealistic expectations.

I am a Niner alum. I did not expect/anticipate a NCAA bid this year.

However, I am tired of my school being an afterthought in the Charlotte Sports World.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Niner alum with season tickets, who follows every game, and have come to several conclusions. First, there's no denying Bobby's abilities as a leader and recruiter. He consistently brings in talent in a very difficult, competitive region. He also earns the respect and loyalty from those players. That is where it ends. As an X's and O's coach, I see some fundamental flaws in his coaching. This begins with the lack of discipline on offense, namely poor shot selection and a limited amount of set plays, and/or execution of the current offensive scheme. This is demonstrated by the worst conference field goal percentages year in and year out. Fundamentally, our players lack ball security, crisp, deliberate passing, and taking the ball straight up after an offensive rebound. We're also consistently one of the worst foul shooting teams every single year! Also, there is a definate inability of Lutz developing talented big men as well as making our players NBA-ready. I will give credit to Bobby for being somewhat of an effective defensive coach, but we continue to struggle in perimeter defense. These are just some observations of a devoted fan. I feel that we've reached a ceiling with Lutz and don't see him getting us to the next level. With the talent we have this year, we should be a contender in the A-10 and have a shot at the tournament. Instead, we're underachieving and going nowhere. I think the administration is doing the right thing by not extending his contract at this time, and should continue to leave their options open. As a fan, I'm tired of wasting my time and money on an average program that is going nowhere, while every other Charlotte athletic program is dominating the A-10!

Anonymous said...

It is quite comical how a majority of the fans critical of Lutz don't have the balls to put their name to their comment and go with the cowardly "Anonymous" tag. Everything Jim wrote is exactly true. We have one of the most unrealistic fan bases around, do you think think the UNC-CH fans are all bitching about what a terrible coach Roy is and how he should have benched Hansbourogh for missing all those free throws??? They just lost to their arch enemy at home, we just lost to the #13 RPI team in the country on the road with our best player haing the second worst game of his career. Were you people really counting on this win??? Please name 5 coaches in the country that do more with less than Bobby?? I didn't think so...
As a great man once said "Lighten up Francis."

Anonymous said...

First of all to Mr. Duncan- comparing Chapel Hill with Charlotte in't a very good analogy because they are not only in different leagues, they are in a different class.
Secondly, I feel the same as many of the frustrated Niner fans- annoyed with Lutz, with Goldwire, with Judy Rose, with the whole basketball program.
When I attended UNCC from 2003-07 I was lucky enough to cover the basketball team for the UTimes one season and can vividly remember sitting on the front row watching Eddie Basden, Curtis Withers, etc. hand perennial Conference USA, and national, powers like Cincinnati, Memphis, Marquette and a no.2 ranked Louisville Cardinals team regular beatdowns.
After we beat Louisville (even with Martin Iti) fans stormed the court, stepping on all of my notes from the game and spilling my drink. I still have those notes somewhere because I remember thinking I would like to see those again one day.
The reason people get frustrated with the current state of the program is they feel it is slacking off and being left behind, much like the whole school was in the conference re-shuffling because we didn't have a football team.
Thus, maybe new blood at the coaching position might not be a bad idea. But you can't blame fans when the team is a constant roller coaster, beating teams they shouldn't and then losing to Monmouth every time we try to get excited.
The team's three point shooting is seemingly analogous for its play. Mack or Goldwire will hit a crazy three with a taller man in their face fading away, but then take seven more and miss.
I don't know the answer nor does anyone else probably, but the next few years are going to determine whether Charlotte's administration becomes comfortable with the current level of rut-like mediocrity, or if they will make a change. Good luck to Bobby regardless, he did a great job here, but as someone mentioned earlier he may have hit the ceiling with the 49ers.

Anonymous said...

Jim Duncan,

to compare the discussion of Leemire's shot selection vs. Tyler's freethrows is incredulous. Nobody is saying bench Goldwire. Merely, reign in his "chucking it from 40 ft. with two guys on him." However, in the end, it does come back on the coach. Lutz obviously gets frustrated by some of the execution on the perimeter from Goldwire and Mack but rarely do you see him doing anything other than paying them lip service. And on another note, sounds like you are saying that because Dayton had such a high rpi that we should dismiss their poor execution and free throw shooting? No defenders in the face of the guy when he is standing on the free throw line.

Anonymous said...

Boy the whiners in Niner Nation get made when they get called to the carpet... LOL. Tell it like it is, Jim !

Anonymous said...

Here's my two cents. Lee is our best player. He had two really bad games in a row. We lost both games. We could have easily won both. We didn't. Sorry if I am redundant.

We don't beat Davidson or SIU or High Point or App State or Clemson or St. Joe’s without him. We beat Wake despite his 1-9 three-point shooting. And, he shot so poorly against Maryland, we lost that game, too. He's more valuable to us than any one player. God love him. He plays so damn hard and tries so hard. He just has to take higher percentage shots and play in the flow. I have never been where he’s been so I have no idea how hard that is. But, we’d be in deep you know what without him.

So, now the group of 49er fans who never really liked Bobby and think there's someone so much better out there take a ready, fire, aim approach and those of us who have been around since the depths -- and I mean deep dark depth -- of the program try to defend him.

I am so disappointed we lost the last two games. I hate it for Lee. I really hate it for Bobby. A win at the #13 RPI team would be marvelous for our resume. But, we blew it just like we did at UMass. It's a shame, but it happens.

St. Bonaventure is going to be an ugly game. Trust me, it's a bear to get there and the gym is on par with North Meck. If we win that game, will you cheer for Lee and Bobby at Xavier? I will whether we win or lose. I'll be pissed off, but I'll cheer.



Anonymous said...

I posted earlier about Lutz and his inability as an effective X's and O's coach, but just had an epiphany as it pertains to our short-lived success earlier in the year. The reason we stole a few of those non-conference wins and early conference games, was that we had a bunch of fresh, bright-eyed, enthusiastic, athletes who hadn't quite bought into Lutz's philosophy. We pounded it inside, drove to the basket, created our own shots, and took the 3's that were given to us. Now, they've strayed away from that and taken what Bobby has allowed, which are undisciplined, quick 3's demonstrated by Lee, who consequently is the only player capable of getting away with this style, until now. Bobby has not implemented any type of repercussions for these ill-advised shots, and in turn has molded these fresh, young athletes into undisciplined, run and gun, shot chuckers, satisfied with complacency. Complacency leads to difficulty, which leads to desperation, which leads to mediocrity, which leads to futility. It's a snowball effect, and we're picking up speed my friends! Just some thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Hot Damn, somebody hire Mike D as the new UNCC coach!! Glad to see there's people out there that get it. I posted earlier, am an alum, have had season tix for the past 6 years. I have witnessed all of Bobby's tenure here. I'm not someone that was in diapers a few years ago as some homer stated earlier. I'm a niner fan thru the good and bad...but it's time for a change. Someone said next year will be our year...guess what bud I've (and many other alum that are sick of mediocrity) been saying that since 1998. Bottom line as long as Lutz is here we will NEVER sniff a sweet 16, much less a final 4. You have to know how to make ADJUSTMENTS to advance in a tourney.

Discipline basketball...WOW what a concept!!

Jim Utter likes dudes!!! For Gods sake man write something objective. It's okay to write honest things about your team, even if it is long as it's the truth. No this isn't the end of the world, but it IS the end of our at-large tourney hopes.

Anonymous said...

And you sniffed a Sweet 16 before Bobby Lutz? WTFU people. Put your North Carolina and Duke shirts back on.

Jon said...

I could not agree more... keep in mind that "Life w/o Leemire" is not going to be that bad... these kids have to grow still. Look at the way Charles Dewhurst has contributed during league play, his minutes and points have all increased. Phil gets better in his limited minutes on the floor (my only objection to Bobby is that he should play more). I love that we have two juco kids contributing so much. Ian will be a prolific scorer along with Dewhurst next year. Quit being so damn negative niner fans. We play in a tough league, I still feel that NO ONE in the country wants to see our deep & athletic team make the big dance, no one wants us in the first round.

Anonymous said...

What a great fan base. You guys have loved what this writer has done this season, then he takes you to task one time and he becomes your worst enemy. You PROVED his point AGAIN! You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Damn you Dalonte Hill!! If we could've only landed Beasley!!

Anonymous said...

I'll admit it. I hate it when we drop wins with crappy shot selection and poor free throw shooting down the stretch. I'm a Niner alum and it's been this way for 10 years. However, I've enjoyed what Lutz has brought to the program over the years. We've won some really big games and I'm proud to say I'm a 49er. In fact, I'm for him signing an extension.

It's a shame we couldn't land Beasley. Where was Judy when K State "stole" Delonte Hill...I can't believe we let our own Charlotte alum to escape; Probably should have paid the man.

It has been exciting to watch this year, even with the last minute collapses. The young team is playing better than I expected. Sure the last two games, Monmouth, Hofstra, GTech, Maryland, and UMASS could have all been wins...we also could've lost to Davidson and Wake without Lee. He's been great. It's easy to point fingers, but it's not us out there playing...give the guy some love.

GO 49ers.

Oh and one more thing...please add football.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see the "loyal" Niner fans who think they are "entitled" to an elite program.

Lutz does more with this program than any replacement coach will.

How can you envision being great (instead of good) when you can't even come close to filling up Halton (which only seats 9,000) on any given night.

The Niners are a top 50 program, that consistently wins games and may have a great year every few.

If you can't support your coach and basketball team in it's winning ways, how are you going to support a LOSING football team for the first 3-5 years? (don't count on a winning season until at least 2015)