Samurai Snippets: Thoughts on Colgate and Florida State

Streeter Lecka

The Rollin' Ronin gives a two for one special (sort of) in talking about the Colgate hoops win and the Florida State "football game" in this decidedly mixed-bag Snippets edition.

Colgate

I'm going to start with The Bad for this one, not because I believe there was more bad than good, but because very much of the bad was relatively undone by the second half of the game, so it seems to make sense to do it that way.

The Bad

Free Throw Percentage. Don't let the 66% for the game fool you.  Our free throw shooting was atrocious in the first half.  5-12 isn't going to cut it.

Three Point Defense. Good Lord almighty, they shot better from three in the first half than we did from the free throw line.  I can't even fathom that.  That is just super bad.

Missed Layups Early. Pretty simple, no?

Terrible Three Point Shooting. 1-9 in the first half.  Oofah.

The Good

Adjustments? Wake's free throw shooting jumped from 42% to 79%.  The three point shooting went from 11% to 40% (admittedly only on five attempts, but there's something to be said for that in itself).  Colgate's three point shooting dropped nearly 15% on almost as many attempts, and two of Colgate's five makes were early on in the second half before Wake really woke up.  In the last 18 minutes of the game, Colgate was somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-13, and it's not like they stopped hoisting it up.

Codi Miller-McIntyre: Floor General. After Wake went down by eight with about 17 minutes left in the half, Codi Miller-McIntyre absolutely exploded, scoring 14 points in a row for the Deacs by himself from everywhere on the floor.  Of course he didn't do it by himself, but he's really the one who took over.  Codi finished with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and only a single turnover.

Devin Thomas Is A Man. 23 points on 11-15 shooting, 1-2 from the line, 6 rebounds, a block and a steal.  Codi took over in the second half, but Devin kept us in it in the first half, and he made a strong opening statement in his case for being viewed as a potential All-ACC type player.

Only Five Turnovers, 13 Team Assists. I'll take those numbers any time, especially since several of those five turnovers were on offensive fouls, which I'll readily take over live ball turnovers.  That's some solid ball movement right there.  Good stuff.

The Funny

Twice in this game, once for Wake and once for Colgate, a free throw shooter got three chances to hit a free throw (thanks to lane violations) and missed all three.  It wouldn't be funny if we lost, but I can laugh about it now.

Florida State

I'm going to keep this brief, and frankly, I'm not even going to stick to the typical format, because there's nothing good or funny to talk about here, unless darkly funny counts.  The bottom line is this.  I predicted that it'd be the worst game I've ever witnessed as a Wake fan, and it managed to be WORSE than that.  But that's not the part that I'm angry about.  Late in the broadcast, the announcers were talking about how thanks to conference realignment, in essence, Wake would never be competitive again.  Normally, I'd just eyeroll it away.  Hell, in football I'd argue that the additions to the ACC are nowhere near as daunting as they are in hoops.

The part that makes me angry is that I see Wake fans, especially older ones, just accepting that as fact.  Do they even realize how silly that sounds?  I will grant that the following things will not change: those other schools are bigger than us, and have more tradition than we do.  But even as rough as things are now, it's indisputable fact that in football Wake is getting the best recruits they've ever gotten in terms of raw talent, and basketball, despite struggling mightily, is still pulling in strong recruiting classes there as well, routinely better than at least a few other teams in the conference.

The "Oh, they're bigger, let's just accept it" thing is stupid, straight up.  Is that how Jim Grobe or Dave Odom or Skip Prosser contended for and/or won conference championships and other wonderful accomplishments?  No.  They believed they were capable of better and refused to settle.  Are we facing stiffer competition?  Yeah, but so is everyone else.  Not only that, but some of those fans who resign themselves to losing fates are often the same ones who complain about players having bad attitudes.  Guess what?  Attitudes are contagious.

I'm not saying "Fire everyone right now", though I will say the programs (yes, programs) remain at interesting crossroads.  I'm also not saying "If we're not in the ACC Title conversation every single year, our coaches aren't doing well enough."  There are undeniable tremendous challenges to fielding competitive programs at Wake Forest.  But using challenges as excuses to not ever strive to do better is a losing attitude in any field, so why should we accept it in our athletic programs?

Again, I'm not saying Coach Grobe or Coach Bzdelik believe those things, nor am I saying that Coach Bzdelik or Coach Grobe should be run out of town on a rail.  For Coach Bzdelik, the season is new, and while it started shakily, it started with a win, and I saw more adjustments in one half than I think I saw the entirety of last year, and there's something to be said for that.  For Coach Grobe's part, I don't know what to do with yet another probable (at best) 5-7 season because it's unbelievably frustrating.  But man, before Camp went down we were showing a heck of a rally/upward trajectory, and FSU rolling us, no matter how badly, isn't necessarily a great benchmark for judging anything given just how good the Noles are this year.

I just find it distressing that that losing attitude and frankly hopelessness permeates parts the fanbase.  THAT'S what makes us "Little Old Wake Forest" way more than the size of the student body.  Move forward.  Believe in the possibility of a better tomorrow.  I love you all, I love this university, and I love these teams.  Go Deacs.

--SF

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