We knew this was a paycheck game. Alcorn State's chance of getting a W was extremely small. Still, there is always a chance that something could go wrong. While I expected a win, I am shocked at how easily this one came. Alcorn State is not a good team, but they still played Texas A&M, the same team that took us to overtime in last year's NCAA Tournament, much closer than tonight.
What encourages me the most about these first two games is that there has not been even a hint of a struggle in either game. We have done exactly what we needed to do in winning each game without a doubt. You know if there was the barest hint of a struggle in either game the doubters would pounce. So far, I would say we have exceeded expectations.
There are a ton of things to like so far in these blowouts. We're sharing the basketball and getting a ton of assists. We're shooting well from beyond the three point line. John Hart has emerged as a surprising third scoring option. Sandi Marcius and Travis Carroll are emerging as strong RRD guys and gaining valuable experience for later on. Overall, Everyone had something positive tonight.
JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore - They played your typical Milton Berle game: They brought out just enough to win. They didn't even exert that much and still looked awesome. JJ also got his first career 3-pointer.
Lewis Jackson - LewJack got on the scoreboard tonight, but along with E'Twaun he was a maestro running the show with seven dimes. We still haven't seen him get to the line, but he'll get there if he keeps driving.
Sandi Marcius - I really liked what I saw out of the Sandman. He's a high energy guy with soft hands in the post. I'd love to get 12 and 8 out of him every night.
Travis Carroll - Like Marcius, Carroll is rebounding the basketball incredibly well when compared to his low experience. These are the games where Carroll and Marcius can learn the ins and outs of the game at this level. They're freshmen. They still reach a little too much, but they have already proven that we're going to have more depth than we have had at any time during Painter's tenure as coach.
John Hart - What a surprise this guy has been! I hope that the talk of taking his scholarship away and forcing a transfer after this year can die down. The only players scoring more than him are JJ and E'Twaun. The shots will be there all season long, so he needs to keep hitting them.
Patrick Bade - He's working hard, but I think Marcius and Carroll have overshadowed him in the paint so far.
Ryne Smith - I mostly liked his defensive effort tonight. He wasn't quite Kramer-esque in that department, but he was solid.
Terone Johnson and D.J. Byrd - They had a quieter night, but that will happen as the season goes along. Again, as long as we have a solid third and fourth option from any one of Hart, D.J., T.J., Bade, Smith, etc., we're going to be fine.
Kelsey Barlow - Probably the only downside of the night. GDB once again showed why we call him GDB here. He had a few good plays, but a lot of GDB plays and continued to struggle from the line.
Dru Anthrop and Bubba Day - This is the most minutes they will play all year, but Anthrop played like a man possessed. He had a nice line of 3 points, 2 boards, and 2 assists. Day was the only player that didn't score at all, but t certainly wasn't for lack of trying.
Again, we did what needed to do and came out healthy. The next game is a tougher test, which is what we needed. Oakland was an NCAA team a year ago and likely the type of team we will see in round one if we get a high seed.
Speaking a little more frankly, I am very impressed by what I have seen so far. We had a 52-5 run at one point, which is impressive against anyone. We have a mind blowing 50 assists on the season on 62 made field goals. The remaining 12 have been mostly rebound putbacks. I love the progress that this team is making, and soon enough everyone else will see it.