Sunday, February 3, 2008

Basketball Woes

On a day when the LSU basketball team hit 21 of 22 free throws and made 9 three pointers, we lost by 9 to one of the worst teams in the league and trailed pretty much the whole way. The culprit that night was poor shooting and poor defense in stretches.

Anthony Randolph hit 4 of 14 shots, missing a lot from relatively close to the basket. More than anything, he appeared to be physically outmatched by the stronger Bama inside players, and they bodied him out good shooting position.

I thought the re-addition of Chris Johnson to the lineup would change the on-court dynamic of the team, but he was pretty much invisible on both sides of the court most of the game. He actually scored 13 points, but it had to be the quietest 13 points ever scored by a 6'11" player. He didn't do anything to really alter how the game was played.

One of the announcers discussed the possibility that Brady would lose his job at the end of the season, and thought it was a terrible idea because, "He just went to the Final Four two years ago." Very true. He went to the Final Four two years ago, but they also showed his standing in cumulative wins on the list of current SEC coaches. He was, as I recall, #2 on the list with 190-something wins. The problem is that he is in his 11th season, and 190 wins in 11 seasons averages out to 17 per season, a very mediocre record, especially considering the putrid out-of-conference schedules we had during some of those years.

Yes, I know we had serious probation problems during part of that, and that it was no fault of Brady's. It was during some of those years, however, that we really padded our record with pre-conference-season patsies.

Really, we've only had two memorably good years in the Brady era. In 2000, Brady took Jabari Smith and Stromile Swift to the Sweet 16. It was a nice little run, and could well have gone better if we'd gotten a break or two. In 2006, he took Big Baby and Tyrus Thomas to the Final 4. Well done.

There were a couple other good teams. The year before we went to the Final Four, we won the Western Division with a team led by Brandon Bass, and went to the NCAA Tournament, losing in the first round. In 2003, he appeared to have a pretty good team, led in part by Jaimie Lloreda, but that team imploded on and off the court before quickly bowing out of the NCAA tournament.

Those two good seasons and two other tournament appearances are balanced out by 4 seasons (soon to be 5) of actual losing records, and Brady's record is 19 games below .500 in the conference. Nineteen games! And getting worse.

He's never provided LSU with any sustained success. Only once have we made the NCAA tournament two consecutive seasons. In the middle of Brady's stretch, we had 5 consecutive winning seasons, but much of that was padded with weak out of conference schedules, and we missed the NCAA tournament twice in that stretch. When we missed the NCAA tournament, we didn't exactly make waves in the NIT, losing in the first and second round in our two trips there.

Yes, I think it's really time for Brady to go. He's had his chance. He's proven what he can do. He's shown us what a Brady-coached program looks like, and it's pretty mediocre. Let's move on.

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