Since the Spiders have been off for the week, I’ve had a chance to clean things up and prepare for Temple, returning from my post-Christmas/virus hiatus with a flourish. A lot’s happened over the last three weeks. I need to get some opinions out:
Thumbs down: Raising Kevin Anderson to the rafters. There, I said it. Before my degree is revoked, here me out. KA certainly deserves to be up there; his credentials are undeniable. And yet… doing it the week after Christmas against UNCG? The box score lists the attendance at 4400. I watched the video. Unless everyone left after the pregame ceremony, there weren’t close to 4400 butts in seats. And doing it six months after he last wore the uniform? There’s a reason why every hall of fame has a waiting period. Granted, MLB’s five year rule would be excessive in this case, but it’s serving a pretty good purpose from them (read: steriod users). UR needs to wait at least a full year, if not two, before raising a player banner. Doing otherwise sets a dangerously quick precedent.
Thumbs up: Darrius Garrett, UR career blocks leader. DG is fourth in the nation, but second in the conference (behind St. Joe’s CJ Aiken), with 3.7 blocks per game (13.8%). Impressive. Or an indicator of too much inside penetration by opponents?
Thumbs down: The Richmond Spider app, now available on iPhone as well as the previous Android version. Okay, the app itself is fine. It’s free (to download). It looks nice. It works. Hiding the most useful and worthwhile content–live game audio and video highlights–behind a $5 pay wall? That’s a low blow. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt here and believe the pay wall is NeuLion’s doing, the app’s developer, and not UR, but even that is only so forgive-able.
Thumbs down: The road. Five of the Spiders’ seven losses this season have been on the road (with one more coming in Cancun). Thankfully, four of the next six are in the Robins Center.
Thumbs up: Derrick Williams. The big man is starting to get it. Yes, it’s still just a modest 6%, but his assist rate has been steadily climbing all year. Mooney needs big men who can pass and know where teammates will be and where they will be open. That trend is a great sign. Drawing over 4.5 fouls per game and a free throw rate over 70 are also big assets to this offense. I’m just scared about next year if DWill needs to slide over to play center.
Thumbs up: Speaking of free throw rate…the team rate is up to 41, which is well inside the top third in D1 and leaps and bounds ahead of the last few Spider teams. Easy points are needed until the defense can round back into stifling form.
Thumbs down: Francis Martel. 25 minutes a night, under six points, under four rebounds, under 40% shooting. Paging Francis Martel…
Thumbs down: Saturday’s 7 p.m. tip against Temple. The Patriots kickoff against the World Christianity All That Is Good Tebow and the Broncos 60 minutes later. I think the playoffs get priority so thank Tebow God for DVR. On the plus side: the twin bill is an excellent excuse for A-plus eats. The chicken wings have been marinating since Wednesday.
Thumbs up: Temple will provide top flight competition Saturday. The rematch of the A10 tourney game should be really great stuff. UR needs a signature conference win to send a message and get the team feeling good about things. Coming off a really impressive win Wednesday at St. Louis, the Owls will be the second highest team in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings the Spiders have faced (#45, Iona is currently #42). Temple is one team that can’t dominate the small Spiders with size up front, although Khalif Wyatt, Ramone Moore and Juan Fernandez all run 6’4” in the backcourt. PS, how does Fernandez still have eligibility?