Game Thread: Lady Vols 75 - Ohio State 87

1reVOLver

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I've slept on it now, and decided to make one more observation about the game:

Ohio State has probably constantly practiced and drilled the ever-living ish out of their press since the moment McGuff and Harper signed the paperwork on officially adding that game to their schedules.

Think about it. If you're McGuff, who has a team already known LAST year for being particularly strong in their press, and then you are fortunate to have the opportunity to be even better at it this year, what better game/season plan could there have been but to spend most of the pre-season run-up getting that press to a level that would likely have overwhelmed ANY other team in the nation last night BECAUSE it was Game One.

The amount of full-on practice time teams have had really hasn't been that much, and McGuff knew 100% that his best chance at getting that all-important Game One home victory against a Top 5 opponent was to spend inordinate amounts of time on working on the speed and efficiency of that press. The Ohio State players were probably ticked at him for making them practice that constantly, but it was a brilliant plan, and now the OSU players understand why -- and their trust in McGuff is now complete.

Since the ink was signed on the game schedule McGuff has known that Kellie would have a difficult time figuring out how to best use her roster, and since press-breaking and turnovers were known issues for us last year, it just made sense for McGuff to get laser-focused on exploiting that THIS year since we have so many new players and wouldn't likely have the luxury of spending extra, Extra, EXTRA amounts of time working on all the various ways to break a strong press.

So while McGuff was preparing his team to get that very important season-setting first home win against a Top 5 opponent by laser-focusing his team on Tennessee's probable weakness, his gamble that Tennessee would NOT have the luxury of spending equal amounts of time on press-breaking, paid off. Bigtime.

My guess is that Kellie knew in her heart we were sunk earlier than it even became obvious to us. McGuff certainly knew it, and it showed. In my mind I can almost hear him in their practices, beginning back in the summer, imploring his players to get serious about getting in condition to crush opponents' spirits with that press. With Tennessee as their opening game, it would be worth all this effort.

Ugh.

All this to say that I feel bad for Tennessee that they were in the game that provided the rest of the nation's coaching staffs the best scouting reports ever, in Game One. Ohio State's greatest strength has been exposed, as well as Tennessee's greatest weakness.

You're welcome, all other coaches going forward! lol

The good news is we won't always, I'm sure, be as weak against pressure as we were last night. Well, not if the staff makes some changes to the practice plans and finds ways to improve there. Kellie just got her tail whipped last night, but I believe she'll learn from it. Also, for the hundredth time, we have got to give this team time to mesh. I honestly feel like they won't ever again face an opponent who had spent as much time preparing JUST FOR THEM AND THEIR PARTICULAR WEAKNESS as they did last night.

One more thing. I feel the need to pile on about the lack of time-outs called in the game, particularly that third quarter. If I see that totally mystifying coaching strategy again in a similar situation, Kellie Harper is likely to lose a longtime supporter in me. I was literally angry over that last night, and it takes a lot to make me angry. Hell, I'm STILL angry about that in particular. Seriously, that was outrageous. Who in the hell ever convinced her that calling time outs to calm a team down was a bad idea?? Was it her beloved dad? Some other coach she loved and respected? (It sure as hell wasn't Pat!) Or is this just her own personal decision based on some philosophy she adheres to? I mean, WHAT. THE. ****, Kellie? Get a grip, girl. lol
Short form: tOSU's coach did what he's paid to do-prepare his team. UT's coach didn't.
 

Volfan2012

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Ok just one comment and I'm moving on. First time I have had any feelings that Kellie may not be the answer. Team has to much talent not to be able to move the ball against that team and 29 turnovers is brutal that is being ill prepared for what you knew was coming. Whatever chance we had to win the game was lost in about a four minute stretch in the third quarter when the coaching staff just decided we weren't going to try to stop their momentum and try to get back on track. Felt very sad for Tamari Key she is still playing like a freshman making bad plays and doing things on the court no senior should do. I kind of felt this coming after the Carson Newman exhibition. Never expected 29 turnovers, but the defense was also weak and unimpressive in that game as well. If we got the athletic players were supposed to have and you can't guard those players on that team then were in trouble. We got a lot of help in the first half with all their free throw misses and all the wide open shots they missed. Was a sad experience and what looked like a promising season is certainly largely in question. Of course there is plenty of time to right the ship and change my mind about everything I saw last night. Right now JMO got outcoached badly last night and suddenly other than Horston all those athletes don't look so athletic.
 

lvocd

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If I could I would suggest to Kellie she first re-watch the full game on TV, without pausing it, like most fans watched it instead of initially watching it in film breakdown mode from film supplied by the team videographer. If she watches the full broadcast she'll surely see and feel how desperately the players needed a timeout in the third quarter. She sat on the bench in a stubborn stupor and let them flail around. She snapped out of it with 3 minutes left, but by then it was 17 minutes too late. Yes, I'm STILL angry about the time out sitch. 😢
 

lvocd

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Short form: tOSU's coach did what he's paid to do-prepare his team. UT's coach didn't.
I think McGuff had more time to focus on one particular opponent, Tennessee, in the weeks leading up to the game than Harper had to prepare specifically for that press. McGuff's team didn't need to spend as much time learning each other as Tennessee will still be doing 10 games in.
 

glv98

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If I could I would suggest to Kellie she first re-watch the full game on TV, without pausing it, like most fans watched it instead of initially watching it in film breakdown mode from film supplied by the team videographer. If she watches the full broadcast she'll surely see and feel how desperately the players needed a timeout in the third quarter. She sat on the bench in a stubborn stupor and let them flail around. She snapped out of it with 3 minutes left, but by then it was 17 minutes too late. Yes, I'm STILL angry about the time out sitch. 😢
Pretty sure she's aware the whole planet was screaming for a t.o. and I agree she seemed stubborn in her refusal. Which could be us projecting onto her but whatever. She knows it defies all historic coaching logic. I blame Rick Barnes, he started it. We've speculated before that there must be some data metric that shows calling t.o. doesn't actually stop runs. But sometimes, c'mon!

I just wish someone would ask her about that unusual philosophy? Maria? Brian?
 

37620VOL

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I think McGuff had more time to focus on one particular opponent, Tennessee, in the weeks leading up to the game than Harper had to prepare specifically for that press. McGuff's team didn't need to spend as much time learning each other as Tennessee will still be doing 10 games in.
After getting smoked out of the NCAAT by Louisville when Van Lith had a bad shooting night, press break should have been near the top of off-season fundamentals work. Turnovers, in general, should have been #1 overall on the off-season "fix it list".
 

VOLINVONORE

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I'm not saying you didn't make a good point but you haven't been as invested as many of us myself since 1979. my point is some are going to expect the best even for a first game that's just how it is for some who's heart has bleeded orange for the longest of time
I expect effort from those who are on the floor. I did not see a lot of effort from Key and it cost us. The 29-30 turnovers from the press cost us the game. Some of our players who have been overweight the last 2 years are still overweight and can/have not play to their potential. These are the same players who can not play good defense or dribble the ball because of the lack of conditioning. I am sure a lot of work will be directed toward beating the press this week. I also realize we wanted to see how the new players could fit into our offensive and defensive schemes. It appears that they are making good progress and will provide a lot of help as the season moves along. nWe should be a real power by the beginning of Conference play. However, if I had to coach against us, I would pressure them all over the court. Lets hope we can quickly overcome this problem.
 
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glv98

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After getting smoked out of the NCAAT by Louisville when Van Lith had a bad shooting night, press break should have been near the top of off-season fundamentals work. Turnovers, in general, should have been #1 overall on the off-season "fix it list".
And I'm sure they were at the top of the list, which is the scary part. It's not lack of knowing priorities. Unfortunately, the horror movie we saw last night was about the 14th sequel with the same plotline. It's finding the right teaching methods and having talent capable of executing them consistently.
 

lvocd

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After getting smoked out of the NCAAT by Louisville when Van Lith had a bad shooting night, press break should have been near the top of off-season fundamentals work. Turnovers, in general, should have been #1 overall on the off-season "fix it list".
You missed my main point, and that is that Tennessee, while trying to incorporate six new players from vastly different backgrounds into the system, didn't have the luxury of spending ridiculous amounts of time trying to address only one aspect of the game. OSU is probably among the best in the country at it, and we simply couldn't devote enough time to overcome that fact.

I don't have proof of it, but I would bet the farm that McGuff spent extra time making his team even stronger in that area because he knew Kellie wouldn't be able to devote the time to it to match his. Even if both teams had had a scrimmage game in August and neither had practiced together at all, OSU's press would already have dominated. They've only widened the gap since the summer.

Hopefully Tennessee will eventually catch up, or at least close the gap enough to get by.
 
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lvocd

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Pretty sure she's aware the whole planet was screaming for a t.o. and I agree she seemed stubborn in her refusal. Which could be us projecting onto her but whatever. She knows it defies all historic coaching logic. I blame Rick Barnes, he started it. We've speculated before that there must be some data metric that shows calling t.o. doesn't actually stop runs. But sometimes, c'mon!

I just wish someone would ask her about that unusual philosophy? Maria? Brian?
Seriously. I'm gonna need an answer to that question.
 

alexvol

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Looking at the new players.

Powell - She is obviously an upgrade for the position, but I thought she took a couple of shots too early and did not look to set up the offense. She also had a couple of unforced turnovers. Easy enough to iron that stuff out.

Hollingshead - Did not see much helpful from her. She can move well and that is about it. No offensive game at all, and really poor defense.

Franklin - undersized post who could probably be productive if she got some minutes, but not as athletic or flashy as the others and has to be utilized a certain way. Doesn't look to move all that well so the injury may be lingering.

Jackson - Obviously a scorer with a scorer's mentality, but plays poor defense and turns the ball over too much. You have to find a way to use her strengths.

A HUGE problem today was running too many players in and out so that we could not have any consistency. When you get a team down you need to keep that lineup out there as much as you can and pile it on. This isn't little league where everyone gets a chance to play.

Ohio State's press isn't all that great. They run it like it should be run, but they don't have a bunch of great athletes out there and it should be very easy to position yourself so that you can beat it. Our small guards couldn't throw over it, and several times passed up opportunities to dribble through it. This is the sort of thing a timeout should have cured early in the game where you point out which presses they are running and what to do in each case. Having the same people on the floor means you don't have 15 different people each seeing the press for the first time so that it is effective for far longer than it should be as each new set of players has to adjust. Knowing who is out there with you and where they are is key to beating a press. A platoon system assures you can never settle down against it. A good coach would know who to put out there to break it and would play that line-up.
Very well said !!
 

VOLINVONORE

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Not watching the game due to work committments but following the play by play on espn and how the hell does every single post player we have on the team have 2 or 3 fouls in the 3rd quarter already ? Bad defense or homecourt advantage ? 5 pt lead for us still nice but im assuming because our bigs have been crippled against the smaller team these first 3 quarters ?
Not watching the game due to work committments but following the play by play on espn and how the hell does every single post player we have on the team have 2 or 3 fouls in the 3rd quarter already ? Bad defense or homecourt advantage ? 5 pt lead for us still nice but im assuming because our bigs have been crippled against the smaller team these first 3 quarters ?
They ran a lot of picks against our man defense which were very effective. Our defense was unable to switch and we fouled to try to prevent open layups, Ohio State was a tough match up for a team with so many new players. I think we started 5 Seniors and we player well until we started subbing. The problems can and will be corrected. I think we will become a top 5 team and make a strong run in the SEC schedule and the NCAAs.
 
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Hadams2212

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Obviously not how we wanted to start the season, turnovers were concerning, and room to improve in every asset of the game. BUT, do not give up on this team. Was it likely we were going to go undefeated? Absolutely not. Hell give the team props for going on the road and facing a top 15 team. We could’ve faced ETSU and won by 80 like USCjr and felt good about ourselves. A tough schedule is going to provide bumps in the road. It’s about how you overcome them. Root for this team to do good. I think some of you hope they lose just so you can get on a message board and bash the program. Go Lady Vols as always. They’ve got two opportunities to get back on track in the next week.
 

volforlife10

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Obviously not how we wanted to start the season, turnovers were concerning, and room to improve in every asset of the game. BUT, do not give up on this team. Was it likely we were going to go undefeated? Absolutely not. Hell give the team props for going on the road and facing a top 15 team. We could’ve faced ETSU and won by 80 like USCjr and felt good about ourselves. A tough schedule is going to provide bumps in the road. It’s about how you overcome them. Root for this team to do good. I think some of you hope they lose just so you can get on a message board and bash the program. Go Lady Vols as always. They’ve got two opportunities to get back on track in the next week.
emphasis on that “some of you hope they lose just so you can bash the program.”
 

alexvol

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And I'm sure they were at the top of the list, which is the scary part. It's not lack of knowing priorities. Unfortunately, the horror movie we saw last night was about the 14th sequel with the same plotline. It's finding the right teaching methods and having talent capable of executing them consistently.
Does anyone remember the beginning of the great downfall last season at Auburn......same thing happened with pressure .
 

creekdipper

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Pretty sure she's aware the whole planet was screaming for a t.o. and I agree she seemed stubborn in her refusal. Which could be us projecting onto her but whatever. She knows it defies all historic coaching logic. I blame Rick Barnes, he started it. We've speculated before that there must be some data metric that shows calling t.o. doesn't actually stop runs. But sometimes, c'mon!

I just wish someone would ask her about that unusual philosophy? Maria? Brian?
The timeout issue seems to be the near-unanimous criticism among fans, and reporters should press (no pun) that question to Kellie. I expected to hear some version of "letting them play through it" or wanting to prove a point or...something, but that didn't happen. Even then, it would have been obvious that the plan backfired and it might have been toying with a dangerous strategy that could seriously damage the team's confidence (and future recruiting). But to hear instead what sounded like an excuse...that the players were gassed...was extremely disappointing, especially when team depth was supposed to be a primary strength.

Although the buck stops with Kellie, we also have to remember that she has two assistants with head coaching experience in college. Collectively, they've played in and coached in hundreds of games. I've been a head coach (without an assistant) and an assistant, and I know how valuable those extra sets of eyes and opinions can be. Hard to believe that the entire staff would enthusiastically embrace the unsuccessful t.o. strategy.

I hope the staff can successfully use the opportunity to help the team grow by explaining the strategy and why it failed, taking responsibility as a staff and head coach, and teaching corrective measures that will repair any lost confidence in the system and game plans. That's a tricky thing to accomplish, but honesty and confidence (and adjusted strategies) will go a long way with the athletes, who have to be shaken and doubting right now.
 

glv98

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The timeout issue seems to be the near-unanimous criticism among fans, and reporters should press (no pun) that question to Kellie. I expected to hear some version of "letting them play through it" or wanting to prove a point or...something, but that didn't happen. Even then, it would have been obvious that the plan backfired and it might have been toying with a dangerous strategy that could seriously damage the team's confidence (and future recruiting). But to hear instead what sounded like an excuse...that the players were gassed...was extremely disappointing, especially when team depth was supposed to be a primary strength.

Although the buck stops with Kellie, we also have to remember that she has two assistants with head coaching experience in college. Collectively, they've played in and coached in hundreds of games. I've been a head coach (without an assistant) and an assistant, and I know how valuable those extra sets of eyes and opinions can be. Hard to believe that the entire staff would enthusiastically embrace the unsuccessful t.o. strategy.

I hope the staff can successfully use the opportunity to help the team grow by explaining the strategy and why it failed, taking responsibility as a staff and head coach, and teaching corrective measures that will repair any lost confidence in the system and game plans. That's a tricky thing to accomplish, but honesty and confidence (and adjusted strategies) will go a long way with the athletes, who have to be shaken and doubting right now.
Great post. I agree we'd likely hear "play through it" etc. But no metric or philosophy is 100% ironclad. You have to let your human common sense step in sometimes. She seems almost stubborn in her refusal, and yeah, apparently its not for the assistants to question.

I wonder if Rick Barnes has ever explained the t.o. refusal philosophy. Surely the men's bb press has asked him.
 

lvocd

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Great post. I agree we'd likely hear "play through it" etc. But no metric or philosophy is 100% ironclad. You have to let your human common sense step in sometimes. She seems almost stubborn in her refusal, and yeah, apparently its not for the assistants to question.

I wonder if Rick Barnes has ever explained the t.o. refusal philosophy. Surely the men's bb press has asked him.
In my opinion, "play through it" is a philosophy to be considered much later in the season -- after a team knows itself a lot better and has more experience with different situations and obstacles they've had to overcome.
 

Fatoldman

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Looking at the new players.

Powell - She is obviously an upgrade for the position, but I thought she took a couple of shots too early and did not look to set up the offense. She also had a couple of unforced turnovers. Easy enough to iron that stuff out.

Hollingshead - Did not see much helpful from her. She can move well and that is about it. No offensive game at all, and really poor defense.

Franklin - undersized post who could probably be productive if she got some minutes, but not as athletic or flashy as the others and has to be utilized a certain way. Doesn't look to move all that well so the injury may be lingering.

Jackson - Obviously a scorer with a scorer's mentality, but plays poor defense and turns the ball over too much. You have to find a way to use her strengths.

A HUGE problem today was running too many players in and out so that we could not have any consistency. When you get a team down you need to keep that lineup out there as much as you can and pile it on. This isn't little league where everyone gets a chance to play.

Ohio State's press isn't all that great. They run it like it should be run, but they don't have a bunch of great athletes out there and it should be very easy to position yourself so that you can beat it. Our small guards couldn't throw over it, and several times passed up opportunities to dribble through it. This is the sort of thing a timeout should have cured early in the game where you point out which presses they are running and what to do in each case. Having the same people on the floor means you don't have 15 different people each seeing the press for the first time so that it is effective for far longer than it should be as each new set of players has to adjust. Knowing who is out there with you and where they are is key to beating a press. A platoon system assures you can never settle down against it. A good coach would know who to put out there to break it and would play that line-up.
Ohio State's press is great. It is the primary reason they won Big 10 and made it to Sweet 16 last year. In regards to Franklin pre injury she was ultra athletic. Right there with Horston and Jackson athletically. Her game relied on explosive athleticism. Right now she is just a shell of her pre injury self. She led her team to 2 sweet 16s and outplayed All Americans. Right now it seems to me that she should not even be in our Top 10 rotation. So sad for her.
 

LadyVol1908

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As much as I don’t want to, I have to go back and watch this game to see where the implosion came from. I’m at work still upset! 🥲😂

Just thinking off the top of my head, and not trying to place blame but the substitution pattern could’ve been due to the foul trouble our team was in. The refs really were calling an insane amount of fouls.

I’m not even going to touch the timeout situation. That was just ridiculous!
 

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