"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Big Zero

My guards and forwards are better than yours........and to prove it to you, I won't even attempt to score from the post. Play ball!

So goes the most puzzling aspect of Tom Crean's 2007-2008 strategy. It does not matter that Ousmane Barro demonstrated marked improvement year-to-year for the first three-quarters of his career, for some reason the big fella has digressed into an afterthought in the Golden Eagles' offense. To be fair, Barro might never have been more than that in previous years, but Ooze has bottomed out as a senior and the shenanigans of bringing him off the bench to prevent foul trouble must end.

Once and for all: Dwight Burke is not a Big East quality post player. Repeat it again: Dwight Burke is not a Big East quality post player. Despite the Fools' Gold fans discovered earlier this season, Burke has returned to form but for some reason Barro remains a bit player on a team that desperately needs a post option, a role he filled just last year.

Last season when MU played its best ball, Barro was at his best. A year ago, Barro enjoyed a stretch of unprecedented success by scoring in double digits in seven of nine Big East contests. MU won eight of those games, including three on the road. Barro's best game in that stretch was arguably his double-double at UConn, a mindboggling feat given MU's performance in Storrs a few days ago.

Fast forward to 2008..........Barro has attempted only 10 shots in the last four Big East games combined. If that's not enough, Barro has not scored in MU's past two games, and since piling up 14 points in the Big East opener against PC has contributed 12 total points combined in his next five outings.

As Henry Sugar pointed out in yesterday's sublime post, MU is relying on a high-risk strategy this season and abandoning the post plays a huge role in that approach. Basically, MU relies more on lower percentage shots (especially from three), which is inherently less reliable. So by refusing to incorporate Barro as part of the offense -- he made nearly 60% of his shots last season, folks -- MU is eschewing one of its most efficient options in favor of less reliable alternatives. Beyond the pure numbers, by abandoning the post entirely this season (and the subsequent decline in Barro's assertiveness on the blocks in this needlessly diminished role), the Golden Eagles have become one dimensional on offense -- drive and kick -- and therefore much easier to defend.

It is time to reinvest in the post and resurrect Ousmane Barro.

**thanks to Henry Sugar for his contributions to this post


Anonymous said...

Hear hear!

Gene Frenkle said...

Hear hear again!!! Burke is, how should I put this...awful? Not good? Slow? Lacks-offensive-prowess? The anti-Hayward? The anti-finisher?

The guy barely hit the backboard from one-foot out on Saturday. He's awful.

We need to bring Barro back in. He hasn't looked good, admittedly, but they have to do something I think. That game Sunday was brutal.