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State Vs. Miami: One Man’s Opinion

March 13, 2008

State Vs. Miami

It’s make or break time for State. One bullet left in the revolver, one last chance to do something positive to build on for next year.

Miami is a team State has beaten once already this season, so that alone is reason to believe we can pull a win off today. State’s recent history in the tournament (8-5 over the last 5 years) also suggests that we could pull the upset.

The downside is that Miami is playing better than they were when State shocked them in January. Jack McClinton is playing out of his mind at the moment, commanding enough attention in the Pack’s gameplan that Sidney pretty much plans to blanket him for the entire game. Could we see a box-and-one defense today?

As for State, they have got to get more production from both their starting lineup and their bench. Too many players have disappeared this season for me to feel comfortable about this team. Costner, of course, is the big piece of the puzzle missing this year, but role players like Dennis Horner have completely gone MIA this year, as well. Horner’s perimeter scoring is especially missed; were we a more dangerous team from outside I feel fewer teams would sag down on our “bigs.” And Courtney Fells is a here-one-game-gone-the-next type player. It goes without saying that today we need him in the former category, not the latter.

Short of an upset, I want to see State look like a “team” on the court. I want to see effort; I want to see hustle; I want to see good ball movement and a sense of purpose on the offensive end of the court. If McClinton gives us his best shot against reasonable defensive pressure (I’m realistic about our defensive capabilities) and we lose, so be it. Going down swinging is better than quitting.

If we play like we did against Carolina in the RBC Center, that will be unacceptable, and the players will have no one but themselves to blame.

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