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Intensity falls off as Panthers lose at Memphis

It is startling and inspiring to see the Panther team defense for the first minute or two of the past two games. Everyone is buzzing. Everyone is in great defensive stances with heads on a swivel. You’re just ready for them to erupt with emotion and fast break. Unfortunately this attitude/mood goes away after a few possessions. It does not return after timeouts, after great layups or after halftime.

How does it even occur? Does Coach Val inspire the guys in the locker room and then fail to provide such inspiration at halftime or during timeouts? Does one of the players give a pregame speech that everyone forgets what he said after a couple minutes? Is this just because the team isn’t deep enough to have energy all game? Being shown that they CAN play like a Shaka Smart team or a Mike Anderson team and then choosing to do so (or being unable to do so?) for only two minutes of game time is maddening.

Per the ESPN3 broadcast team, Memphis had trouble with the press in their previous game. If Coach Val isn’t using it last night, I’m not sure if he’ll ever use it. For someone who likes to see a team that likes to run, no press is going to be a hurdle. Similarly, where is the 1-3-1 defense? One of the perks of hiring Coach Val was that we’d be acquiring Coach Beilein’s systems. Maybe we’re saving these for when the team is more mature or our opponents matter more toward our season outcome?

I’m not sure we aren’t a better 3-point shooting team than last year?

For a team that doesn’t have many guys that can create their shot in isolation, the Panthers are absolutely terrible at setting picks. This needs to change.

Did Amanda Braun make the trip for the big non-conference matchup? If so, good on her. If not, I want her at DePaul.

Transition defense needs to be a practice point.

Panther Player Ranking Board (these are early assessments based on just the 2 games)

  1. Wichmann – He’s going to score and the defense is going to have to be focused on him. Surprised me when he jumped out of nowhere for offensive rebound. More of that please!
  2. Stull – Just incredibly solid everywhere. If he was 3 inches taller, he’d be an all-conference contender. Would love to see him add a floater and a stepback jumper.
  3. Haas – Limited defensively and can’t get around his defender without a solid pick, but does everything else really well. Natural leader that needs to work on his entry passing a bit.
  4. Johnson – Looks like the corner 3 is going to be open for him all season long. If he can hit it with consistency, there is a huge need for him.
  5. Harvey – He looked like he could be on top of the board based on MSOE game. The ball didn’t make it to him very often vs. Memphis so it’s tough to rank him. He took 3 shots last night! Hopefully he gets more looks going forward.
  6. Nze – Stellar play versus MSOE was quickly overshadowed by some loose handles in the paint. Loads of potential here.
  7. Barnes – Really want to see him just get more time. I think he’s one of the only guys that can get around his defender without assistance and his speed should translate better on defense with effort.
  8. B. Prahl – Hard to hate too much. You can see effort out there.
  9. Bell – I’d love to see better passing here. Just going through the motions when he doesn’t have the ball and trying to do too much when he has it (0-8 last night). His shot is so long that it’s going to be blocked more than a handful of times this year.
  10. Rongstad – Incomplete. Not sure I saw him do much in either game.

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