Friday, February 17, 2006

BSC/LU take


James Collins: 7-10 FG, 6-8 3FG, 20 points. This a game after: 6-12 FG, 4-7 3FG, 5-5 FT, 21 points. That two games after: 9-16 FG, 6-12 3FG, 1-2 FT, 25 points.

In other words, it’s on. The JCCW’s official James Collins position hasn’t changed since the day it opened for business: no one is more important to BSC’s title chances than him. The Panthers can win if Collins is cold. They already have on several occasions. But if he’s hot, the Panthers will win.

It’s the difference in peanut butter between Peter Pan Creamy and Jif Extra Crunchy. The Peter Pan Creamy tastes good. It will fill you up. When choosing between a PB&J sandwich made with Peter Pan Creamy vs. sardines smeared with potted meat for lunch, you’re still going with the Peter Pan Creamy. But what happens when you bring a Peter Pan Creamy PB&J to work and get one of those overwhelming cravings to hit up your local Chotchkie’s? You know it’s going to cost you an hour extra, after queso dip and tip you’re gonna end up blowing 15 bucks, and even the modern miracle of Ziploc won’t keep your sandwich fresh another day. But if you’re only packing Peter Pan Creamy, none of that matters: you’re going to Chotchkie’s, and you know it. Sometimes, having that extra dollop of peanutty goodness you only get with Jif Extra Crunchy makes all the difference.

It’s the same way with BSC and James Collins. The same way exactly. McMillan, Powe, Horton, Viglianco, Sir Paul … they can handle the VMIs and Othern Southerns of the world by themselves. But to win games like a road tilt against the Big South’s hottest team … like a game against Lord Winthrop with the conference championship on the line … like a Big South final … we’ve got to get a big game from James “Jif Extra Crunchy” Collins. He’s the only guy we’ve got to whom the adjective “explosive” can apply. The best guy at spinning points out of five-seconds-left-on-the-shot-clock straw. Simply put, the guy I, at least, would want taking the proverbial One Shot to win the game.

Which is why opening up the above series of box scores is like opening up the doors on a chocolate Advent calendar as a kid. Sure, hitting up the Keydet Cops for 25 and Liberty for 20 at home isn’t the same as doing so in the madness at Kimbel, just as a sliver of cheap cocoa isn’t the same as a new bike. But they’re both a start. And hopefully BSC fans will all get a nice shiny present from Mr. Collins come March 5.

Other notes:

• 24 games in, and I still don’t know who the BSC MVP would be. You could make a fairly convincing case, I think, for any of the six regular rotation members save Horton, and that’s not because Horton’s been slacking--he just plays the same position as Collins, and for the above reasons Collins is a shade more valuable. But Collins is still warming up and Viglianco and Paul have, I think, missed just enough shots recently to slip behind the two ever-so-slightly best candidates: McMillan and Powe. While TV and Sir Paul were combining for a 2-of-11, 4 points, 1 assist to 6 TO’s in 51 minutes night vs. the Flyin’ Falwells, McMillan scored 8 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and dished 4 dimes without a turnover. Powe had a 15-and-10 double-double. Obviously parsing who’s more important to a team as balanced as BSC is sort of pointless. But if you put a water gun* to my head and say “Who would you rather see have a terrible game Saturday?” I think it’d just be tougher right now for BSC to survive Bode Miller-quality outings from McMillan and Powe than their teammates.
• Reboul, in his diplomatic way, kinda agreed with this take, at least as it concerned Wednesday night. “They weren't going to let (Paul) post up and take it to the basket. So, we were doing some things we shouldn't have been doing, rushing things too much,” he told the Birmingham News. “I thought Tom (Viglianco) did the same thing, so he didn't have one of his better games. You can't rush, you've just got to let it happen. That's what James, Bucky (McMillan), Sed and Ed do. They let the game come to them.”
• I wonder if the good folks at BSC’s Media Relations Department have some kind of Mad Lib for Panther home games against lesser opponents. It’d make things a lot easier. Something like “BSC led SCORE with TIME remaining in the second half when the OPPONENTS’ NICKNAME went on a late run. A pair of threes by OPPOSING SHOOTING GUARD and a layup by OPPOSING FORWARD cut the Panther lead to SCORE. But the Panthers hit X of X free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory.” I swear I’ve read those exact sentences a dozen times this season alone. So it goes. As long as they keep the “preserve the victory” ending.
• What’s there to say about Liberty? They shot free throws well--16-of-19. Russell Monroe had a good game--6 points, 7 boards, 3 blocks, 2 steals in 24 minutes. But Blair had an off game (7-19 FG, 0-5 3FG) and when that happens, Liberty loses. Simple. (OK, one halfway interesting note: Liberty had only 6 assists for the game. Not exactly the mark of a team that's playing with a lot of chemistry at the moment.)

*Hey, it might be filled with hot coffee or something.

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