So far this year we've been treated to horrible, out-of-conference disappointments; devastating, late-game let-downs; and infuriating, Tim Donaghy-style officiating. So that's a lot of bad news. Is there any good news?
1) If you've been watching the games through the same rose-colored, prescriptions I use, then you see Samardo turning in some outstanding offensive performances. His rebounding has really developed, especially on the offensive boards. He's developed a baby hook that would make David Padgett weepy. When was the last time we had a big guy in the post who could drop a baby hook that wasn't cringe inspiring? I can't remember.
2) Peyton Siva. While there's been a lively debate over Siva v Sosa for the past week or so now, it is clear that our future PG is an outstanding talent. He's nimble, speedy, confident and possesses a killer 3-point shot. He makes mistakes, sure, but they seem to be standard rookie mistakes, not signs that he's a head case. He's been so genuinely supportive of Sosa that it's hard to doubt the kind of attitude he'll bring to the team.
3) Delk. Jennings. Not yet perfectly reliable, but both of these guys seem to have turned a corner.
4) We've lost more games than we'd like and our schedule isn't getting any easier, but we haven't been dominated by anyone. not even UK. Any one of those conference losses could have gone the other way without too much changing in the game. This team clearly has the tools, and the skills to play with anyone.
So the big question is are we resilient? Will we let these close losses shake our confidence? It could easily go that way. What this team has in terms of ability is offset by a lack of maturity and killer instinct. We have not shown great confidence up to this point and it's hard to imagine how recent events could be very inspirational to them. But there is no reason we can't win most of the rest of our games and show well in the tournament. And the beauty of playing in the BE is that we'll get the benefit of playing a raft of ranked teams that look outstanding on the resume. If we can beat the teams we should beat and then get 4-5 wins against some combination of UConn x 2, GTown, Marquette, ND and Syracuse x 2, then we should be money. It's not going to be easy, but the ship isn't sunk.