Thursday, January 26, 2012
William & Mary is 4-17, 2-7 in Colonial Athletic Association play. The Tribe is in the top ten in the nation in one statistical category: losses. They're 293rd in efficiency, 291st in points per possession, 309th in rebound percentage, 316th in steal percentage, and 316th in block percentage. By nearly all statistical measures, they stink.
I can't for the life of me figure out why I continue to be so optimistic about this team. But I do. In a season full of losses, of depth-crippling and star-limiting injuries, of youthful mistakes, and learning on the fly, the Tribe has shown sparks of the potential that led experts to tab them for 6th in the conference in the preseason. In the last week, they took VCU to overtime and fell to UNCW by 2 before running out of steam against a nail-tough Drexel squad.
Tony Shaver's Wrens travel to Harrisonburg tonight to take on one of their two conference victims, a banged-up JMU squad. Matt Brady's Dukes are a funhouse mirror image of the Tribe, full of talent, equally beset by injuries, but hampered by inexplicable mental failures. Mark Selig (@MarkSelig) of the Harrisonburg Daily News Record tweeted this after the Dukes' 71-69 loss on Saturday to Hofstra, theretofore winless in the conference:
Devon Moore falls down, Alioune Diouf is oblivious to the game clock, and the Dukes never get a shot off. Hofstra wins.
JMU Sports Blog's suavely named Rob had the following to say after the loss: "I don’t know what else to say. Todd and I aren’t even pissed. We’re numb. And as fans that might actually be worse." A week prior, the Dukes bloggers titled a post Poop > JMU. Going out on a limb here, but I think Madison fans might be slightly more aggravated with their team that we are with ours.
I suppose it's all a matter of expectations. JMU entered conference play with a 7-4 record, then lost 5 straight CAA games. The Tribe came in 2-10 and danced with the hobgoblin of small minds. Consistency, thy name is the Tribe just failing to make enough plays at the right time, even as it isn't a descriptor of W&Ms' performance this season. And maybe that's the thing that keeps me positive about this team - the effort, the individual ability, the system are all there, but not at the same time. My futile superbrain believes this team is capable of...something.
The winner of tonight's tickle fight takes sole possession of the coveted 9th spot in the CAA standings. W&M topped JMU, 68-61, in Williamsburg earlier in the season, but the Dukes go into the game 8 point home favorites. That's an outrage, and I plan to write a strongly worded dissent, once I find someone who cares.
Other than Danimal.