VOR -- I thought you gave a reasonable take on the Hobbs-loyalist spin.... until I got to the part where you said you are "pretty sure" the administration regrets firing Hobbs since we're losing this year. That is remarkably dumb, and decidedly not the voice of reason. The move was made for the long term. If you don't know that, you aren't even close to as reasonable as you think.
Allow me, though, to give you the voice of reason on the other side of the debate:
1) For the last few years, the biggest problem with our offense was the failure to get open shots. We were often reduced to driving 1-on-4. This year, we are actually getting more open shots. The players just aren't making them. And I'm not talking about unmakable shots (like threes for Pellom or jumpers for Jabari) , I'm talking about the open 17 footers Taylor used to rarely missed, open threes for Kromah and Mikic, open 15 footers for Kromah, inside shots for Dwayne.
2) Stop pointing to the overall win total (17) since 7 of those were built on a joke of an OOC. In fact, we were just as bad -- or worse -- last year in the OOC than we were this year. We lost to the likes of BU, Hampton, UNC-Wilmington and freakin' Navy. Weren't even that close in most of those. We also barely squeaked by against the likes of Towson and Holy Cross.
3) So while you want to say it's the same team that won 10 A-10 games last year, I'd counter with that it's also the same team that got smacked by Navy and the like.
4) Your contention, I believe, boils down to the fact that the real GW team was the one that won 10 A-10 games, and that we should simply ignore the OOC. Here's why I think the 10 A-10 wins was, in hindsight, not more representative:
A) The A-10 was very weak last year. We only beat 2 teams with winning records last year all season, and both of those teams were playing BY FAR their worst ball of the season when we played them. This year, we only have 2 more games against teams likely to have a losing record (URI and Fordham). Huge difference.
B) Tony Taylor got unusually hot in A-10 play last year. In our OOC losses last year (BU, Hampton, Navy, UNC-W, GMU, UAB, Harvard) Taylor averaged 10.1 ppg (and it would be under 10 if you took out the 18 in the opener vs. BU). In A-10 play, he averaged 16.9 ppg (and in the wins he averaged 18.7 ppg). Even worse: In our A-10 losses last year, Taylor shot just 33% from the field. In our last 8 games, Taylor is shooting 30.3% from the field. That's a HUGE difference for our team. Basically, the pattern is clear - when Taylor is red-hot, he can carry us for a while, when he is ice cold we can lose to anyone. Sure, we occasionally win a game when he's cold or lose when he's hot, but the pattern extends to last year and beyond. I know you'd say he is shooting this year like he did in our losses last year because of coaching, but I'd say he shot like this a lot last year under Hobbs. We had all hoped that Taylor had turned the corner in A-10 play last year, but he's getting plenty of open shots this year and he's just not hitting htem.
C) We won a lot of close games in A-10 play over mediocre to bad teams last yer. For this, I give Hobbs lots of credit. He did somehow manage to win the close wins agaisnt the likes of UMASS and Charlotte last year (and even Dayton late in the season). But, again, i think this is more a function of Taylor getting on a hot streak than Hobbs' system being particularly well-suited to the players.
D) Last year, we did have a little bit of a post threat in Katuka. Sure, he was inconsistent, but he scored in double figures around 15 times last year and he forced defenses to respect us inside this year.
E) Dwayne Smith was another huge factor last year. This year, he's been pretty much a non-factor until the last two games (when he's still been off last year's pace). Not the coach's fault - that's injury. Between Katuka and Smith, that was our inside game last year.
F) Mikic has slumped shooting. I don't blame it on Lonergan. It's not unusual for players to shoot well as freshman and then not as a sophmore. If you actually watch the games, you'll say that Mikic is getting plenty of wide open shots.
BOTTOM LINE on the "10 win" argument -- last year's A-10 record was built on beating unusually weak teams, a hot streak from Tony, the presence of two inside players we don't have this year, and some mental toughness in close games we haven't shown this year. Most of those are not worth blaming the coach over.
5) You talk about how we have "potentially' three all-league players on this team so the coach should win. That's possibly true, but let's examine the facts: Smith has been hurt and a shadow of his former self. Not the coach's fault. Kromah missed a year to injury and has lost his shooting touch. I still believe it will come back, but given how many open looks he is getting, it's not the coach's fault the kid is getting open shots and still shooting just 33%. Taylor has reverted to the good, but inconstistent player of his first two 1/2 years. He's getting open shots that he's not hitting. Not the coach's fault. So, sure, we have 3 potential all-league players, but two of them have lost thier form almost certainly due to injury, and one was unable to continue the surprising hot streak of the 2nd half of last year. Boo hoo.
6) You say the easy answer of what has changed from last year to this year is the coaching staff. I'd say the easy answer is that guys are missing shots they hit in the 2nd half last year. I'd also say what's changed is that the Hobbs loyalists have expunged the first half of last year from their memory (as if it didn't count) in much the same way Republican Primary candidate try to ignore the Bush years, as if they didn't happen.
7) You say we'd have 2-3 more wins under Hobbs. Perhaps (though I doubt Hobbs would be winning with no post scoring, a shooting guard shooting 33% and a star PG shooting 30% over his last 8 games). But even if you are right, that would only make us a .500 and 3 more wins would make us roughly 163rd in the RPI. That's hardly a result worth sacrificing the long term promise that ML offers.
8) You say the sing of a good coach is to maximize the strenghths of the players he has. I think you are ignoring the fact that Hobbs, too, went with his system his first two years, even though the losses piled up. it paid off for him when he landed a couple good reecruiting classes, and either you weren't here or didn't criticize Hobbs then for not adapting to his talent. ML should be afforded the same opportunity to build his program that Hobbs was.
9) The worst thing in your initial post is the comment about the wheel showcasing our players driving and cutting ability. First, no one really cut to the basket (not the way they do under ML, that's for sure). Second, if it showcased our talent so well,why was our offense so bad?
Here's another stat for you: over Hobbs' last 4 years, we failed to crack the top half of Division 1 teams in offensive efficiency . Mind you, there are 345 D1 teams -- and we haven't been able to finish in the top 173. You are really going to say the wheel fit our team well when we were in the bottom half of all team, including every low major in the country?
10) Have you actually watched the last couple of games? The coaches have moved away from their preferred offense. They are spreading the floor and letting the team drive, basically what you are arguing. Now I won't criticize the poor shooting vs. SLU -- that is a great defensive team -- but the results haven't been much different. If they guys can't hit the open shots, then it doesn't matter whether we run the wheel, the flex, the triangle, or the Penders Chuck n' Crash offense.
11) Lastly, when you talk about their "stubborness," again, it shows that you aren't watching. I mean, the one year when Hobbs adapted - the 3rd NCAA year - people remember Hobbs adapting to the players by slowing it down and grinding it down, but people forget he resisted calls to do that until mid-February. This coaching staff has beat Hobbs on the adapting by about 6 weeks. Now it's up to the players to make their damn shots.
The bottom line is that the players need to relax. This coaching staff will put them in position to get plenty of open shots if they'll just listen to what the coaches are telling them. But if they can't hit those shots, don't blame the coaches. Just hit the damn shots.