Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

New Hampshire has improved and can do better

December 24, 2014 Columns No Comments

DURHAM, N.H. – Sometimes, overcoming adversity isn’t enough. It’s certainly not always enough to win games, but it’s also not necessarily enough to lose but still get better, meaning you lost more because of the opponent.

Sometimes, merely experiencing the adversity is the problem. Yes, we all face some of it, but sometimes it is self-inflicted. And for New Hampshire, right now overcoming adversity isn’t enough. Bill Herrion wants, and needs, to see better from his team. And they’re capable of doing that. They have shown as much.

“The kids fought, and I just told them inside, that’s got to be a given,” Herrion said after the Wildcats dropped a tough 73-72 overtime game against LIU Brooklyn on Monday. “You don’t get prizes for it. You’re supposed to play hard all the time.”

Herrion’s big concern is the defense, especially early on. In prior years, the concern has been offense, while the defense has been their strong suit. They simply haven’t scored enough to win. In the season opener at Boston College, you saw hints that scoring was again going to be a problem this season. To their credit, they have improved nicely in that regard, in part because the pieces seem to fit together better and they are more talented offensively, even if they are less experienced.

In the last three games, the Wildcats have started slowly, especially at the defensive end, and it has hurt them. They managed to beat Colgate in the first after allowing the Raiders to shoot 55 percent from the field in the first half, but never got going at Sacred Heart on Saturday as the Pioneers shot nearly 53 percent from the field. They battled valiantly on Monday night after falling behind 27-12 over 11 minutes into the game, allowing LIU to shoot 50 percent from the field in the first half.

You see the trend. No matter how much the Wildcats have improved offensively, bad defense is tough to make up for.

“We’re not good enough defensively right now,” said Herrion. “I’m really concerned with our defense. Our field goal percent defense the last three games has been astronomical. We’re digging holes.”

To their credit, the Wildcats won the battle on the boards 45-37 on Monday night. That’s a sign of the effort, at least once they get going. Tanner Leissner led the way there with 11 to go with ten points. It was perhaps a bit troubling that their most talented big man, Jacoby Armstrong, had just three boards on a night when he scored a career-high 18 points on 8-11 shooting. Armstrong has battled the remnants of an injury from last season and the off-season, but he’s very capable and Herrion wants to see him deliver what he’s capable of.

“I think what’s got to happen is that’s got to be a consistent thing, and that’s what we’ve talked with him about,” said Herrion. “We need him to get much, much more involved, especially on the offensive end, rebounding the ball, playing hard. Hopefully that’s a start tonight. Hopefully, now he can build off that and it can be a consistent thing night in, night out.”

Armstrong said he felt about the same as he has all season, a sign that if his health isn’t improving, he’s learned to play with the ailment. Teammate Joe Bramanti, who missed time with an injury, seems to be working his way back, and like Armstrong the hope is that Monday night is a sign. He gave them a spark at times in the second half, and he’s potentially their best perimeter defender. His competitiveness will help, and right now they need that at the defensive end.

One reason Herrion is surely concerned is that this team has shown itself to be very capable, and America East is there for the taking. Stony Brook might have the most talent, and Albany has good talent and the makeup you expect a Will Brown-coached team to have that can win, but neither will enter conference play as a prohibitive favorite by a long shot. Vermont has shown potential, but is very young, and UMass-Lowell is the only other team with a distinguished non-conference resume, and the River Hawks aren’t eligible for the conference tournament yet.

All of that adds up to the potential for this team to contend. The Wildcats have shown they can defend, and Herrion’s teams typically do. Now the offense appears to be less of a concern, and this team has shown they can win as they have managed to win a couple of road games. The conference is there for the taking. It can be taken with a little less self-inflicted adversity on their part as the season goes on.

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with the NBA Draft Lottery, then talk about a big pickup for Duke, important transfers, the coaching carousel winding down and much more.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017 by

In our first off-season edition, we look back on the season that just ended, including redemption for one team and a big development for a conference that has had more questions than success on the hardwood. We also look at players coming and going, as well as big coaching news on a day where there was a lot of it.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2017

April 4, 2017 by

We look back at Monday’s national championship game, which was not a thing of beauty but had plenty of drama. Along the way we share some post-game quotes from both coaches.

College Basketball Tonight – April 2, 2017

April 3, 2017 by

In our Final Four special edition, three head coaches join us to offer their insights on the Final Four, as well as their own programs.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout