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Early season observations
#1
First off, that Nebraska game was flat-out awful. The Huskers didn't play very well, we just played like crap. This is not a game we should have lost, especially at home.

We're not as good as last year. Reed and Mitchell are the same players that they were a season ago, which means we haven't made up for the loss of DeVoe. I'd say Thomas is a little better on offense but he still makes plenty of mistakes. 3.5 fouls and 2.3 turnovers per game.

As a team we're shooting 34% from deep and went just 4-12 today. Only 3 blocks per game. Turnovers are up, free throw shooting is down. Skara has hands of stone and Thomas can't seem to pass out of a double team.

On defense we just don't know what we're doing. Constantly scrambling to cover shooters. Trapp, in particular, doesn't seem to know when to stay on his man and when to collapse into the post. The guys do just fine with on-ball defense but we're terrible at denying passing lanes and just being in position to cover anyone besides the guy with the ball. We're not being victimized by the pick-and-roll as much but that's mostly because teams haven't needed to use it because there are so many open shooters. If the guy getting the ball happens to be in the paint, we're most likely to foul him for an and-1 when the best play would simply be to accept that you've been beaten.

Right now the best thing we can do to improve is focus on defense. These mental mistakes can be fixed, and hopefully they'll be addressed before the start of ACC play.
#2
Most on here probably know that Thomas has been banged up and sick for a good part of the pre-season/early season. It has taken a toll on his conditioning, which in turn lands him in foul trouble when makes silly fouls (see foul #3 tonight). When he leaves the game, it causes huge problems on both ends of the floor but especially on offense. Without Thomas on the floor, Reed is the only serious offensive threat we have.

We need more from Skara and especially Simms, who needs to improve a lot on the mental aspects of the game. Pretty obvious that we miss DeVoe a ton right now.

I think this team can still be good if Thomas gets back to doing his best work.

I disagree that Nebraska played poorly. In fact, I was very impressed with several of their players. I thought they looked more talented that Clemson, from top to bottom, tbh. You'd like to win that game but it's not a loss that's going to kill you. Clemson just needs to keep improving. Basketball is such a long season that what you look like in November frequently bears little resemblance to what you look like in February.


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