Terrible finish to the season… no way to polish that.
I said on the podcast that we were about where I expected us to be, but the disappointments are:
Didn’t defend the “home” floor. Winning at home in the B1G is imperative. Losing to Rutgers and Ohio State was bad and not something anyone who wants to finish in the upper half can afford to do. Losing to Indiana, given its travails this year, is the same. And you have to beat this NW team at home if you’re an upper-half team, no matter how well it was playing at the time.
Hit the panic button too soon. Maybe it’s because the guys had an accurate view of their offensive skills, but it seemed as soon as we would get behind, we’d tense up. Expected that to get better during the season - and it may have - but it was still happening as late as today.
I don’t have any qualms with the 50-50 games; the real issue is some of them shouldn’t have been close (Rutgers, OSU). That split will work out in most years.
I don’t know enough about basketball to say whether PC and staff are not good coaches. I do believe that the marginal difference that great coaching provides is not that much.
What about coaching does matter? Getting players. By far the most important aspect of coaching is identifying quality players (Quality = talent, self-discipline, competitiveness, ability to graduate from Penn State) and persuading them to come to Penn State.
Franklin was brought up in this thread, and he surprised me by making the changes he did. Great job by Moorhead, no doubt. But having quality depth - and no need to (correctly) cater to the strategy demands that Hack at QB required - made more impact.
Iowa was younger than us. But sub Peter Jok onto this young team (bump Samuels out of the rotation because Shep can back up TC, drop TC, Shep, Payton and Josh by four minutes a piece) and watch the statistical magic.
We’ve got at least three spots in addition to Dread’s and Buttrick’s to fill before the fall signing period. Right now we need recruiters.
Next year we can hope that Paige can hold his ground a little better than Julian has been able to underneath, that Shep bounces back a bit, that Buttrick can play and make some threes, that everybody gets a year better, as college players are wont to do.
Everyone makes the argument about what matters. Reminds me of the old football saw that “Defense wins championships.” Turns out in analysis that scoring more points than your opponent is what wins championships - and there are a lot of ways to do that. We need better three point shooting, we really need better two-point shooting. We need more consistency.
But all those pieces are there. Ugly end, no doubt. But we’re going to be in the NCAAs next season. It’s not the Grand Canyon that needs to be crossed.