OU isn't as good as they looked last night, and the Zips aren't nearly as bad. In my opinion, they're much closer to each other than you might think.
There's a story you hear about Jim Tressel as an offensive coordinator somewhere early in his career where he ran the same play like 4 or 5 times to start a game. I think it may have been at BW with his Dad's team. HC asks him "why don't you run a different play?" Young Tressel says .. "Why? They haven't stopped the one I'm running now."
To me, that was the game last night. OU did one thing well last night. REALLY well. And the Zips efforts to stop it were either futile, half-hearted or wholly ineffective, maybe all of these things.
The game for me was a glimpse:
One one hand, it was a glimpse of how badly a Zips team can look on both offense and defense at the same time. It was a glimpse at how to let a one-dimensional team with a very good PG drill you in your own building. It was a glimpse at how to not attack a 2-3 zone .. over and over and over again.
On the other hand at times, it was a glimpse of how to defend OU well and force them in to bad shots or bad decisions. It also had a glimpse of how to attack a 2-3 zone when the opponent can't keep your PG from going by them.
Clearly we saw more glimpses of the former than the latter. Ultimately, last night was verification of what we already knew .. the Zips are inconsistent in effort at times. When they play well together & with energy .. good things happen (probably about 10 minutes of the 40 last night). And when they don't .. they can look pretty mediocre. You do that against a team that does one thing really well .. and you don't take that one thing away .. you can get pasted on your own floor.
I'm hoping it's a learning experience. In the press between Saturday and Wednesday, KD was clearly concerned about keeping his team even keel. He had real reasons to be concerned. Complacency was king last night.
Thoughts .. on Abreu vs. Cooper:
The box score doesn't lie .. Abreu had 7 TO's .. likely his high thus far. But what we saw in the first 5-7 minutes of the game tell me a few things:
- Abreu is as quick with the ball as DJ Cooper.
- DJ Cooper generally was not able to beat Abreu off the dribble.
- For a moment .. Abreu was in Cooper's head.
To be clear, Cooper killed the Zips last night. I didn't see anything different than anyone else. But he killed them with the pass and not the shot. Where the Zips fell down last night was in the rotations, or lack thereof, to the shooters. I think this was due to A LOT of unnecessary double teams. They were doubling OU's post players, leaving Kellogg and Freeman open. Those guys can't be left open. You let Baltic, Washington and Freeman go one on one against our bigs .. and stay with the shooters.
And with Abreu at the point, I think you let him guard Cooper straight up, and don't double Cooper in the half court. I'd take my chances letting Abreu check him one on one, and stick to a straight up man defense to take away his assists. Maybe you have Zeke help at the rim if Cooper gets loose down the lane .. but you do NOT come off the perimeter guy to help out. If half his assists were on 3 balls last night, then he assisted on about 38 points. If you single cover him .. he's not going to put 50 on the board against you. He's a better passer than distance shooter.
Abreu had his challenges last night. Made some unbelievable plays .. made some bone-headed plays. At least two of his turnovers were "Jason Kid @ Cal" types .. where he hit guys with the ball that weren't ready for it and couldn't comprehend how in the world he got them the ball. But I believe one thing for sure: Abreu is good enough to guard Cooper straight up the next time and stop with all this Hipsher-era "let's leave an open shooter" silliness we saw yesterday.
Keep 'em on .. this is a good Zips team.