The more I think about the up-tempo, fast-paced, in-your-face approach Coach Gregory has elected to play, the more confused I am.
It absolutely has it’s positives. After forcing turnovers, transition points result and there are few teams in America with the athleticism the Flyers possess in the open floor. It rattles opposing guards with suffocating pressure for 40 minutes. And it wears down opponents.
While all of those points are true, reality for UD this year has been different. Those results just haven’t been happening.
Instead, as was the case in the Old Dominion and others, UD plays such energized defense, they don’t have time to think about how they should defend. Instead, they’re expending incredible amounts of energy chasing opponents around the floor. Worse yet, when they are guarding the ball handler, the same in-your-face mentality takes over and they forget that defense is played with your feet, not with your hands.
The first half of the Old Dominion was a perfect example of this. Old Dominion didn’t draw fouls by being strong with the ball. We made mindless, overly aggressive mental errors leading to 11 points for the Monarchs from the line in the first half.
What Coach Gregory and his staff has yet to do this year is contain and put to better use the extreme amount of athletic ability this team has. It’s time to realize the importance of knowing how to play smart defense as opposed to relying on speed and agility. Remember, if two buzzer beaters (Savannah St. and Central Connecticut St.) would have bounced in, UD very well could very well be sitting at a lowly 5-5.
ODU guard Trian Iliadis and forward Keyon Carter had career highs Saturday night with 15 and 19 points respectively. Iliadis did it in a mere 19 minutes while it took Carter 28. Sure the offense led by Chris Johnson (24 points, 9 rebounds) looked better, but career highs to reserves from Old Dominion tell me the defense still has a long way to go.