Hoops update: Defense is kind of important

Just a (very) quick post on The Citadel’s basketball team. Recent results can be summed up as follows:

“Our defense is terrible.” — Chuck Driesell on the postgame radio show, after the Bulldogs were drilled 88-69 by Charleston Southern

Yes, yes it is. Let us count the ways:

– The Bulldogs have allowed 80+ points and lost by at least 19 points in the last four games
– The Citadel’s defensive efficiency (adjusted) ranks in the bottom ten in the country (all stats per KenPom.com)
– Opponents of the Bulldogs are shooting 2-point shots (often attempts in the lane) at a 58.1% clip; only four other teams nationally are worse in that category (though The Citadel isn’t last among SoCon schools or military colleges, as two of those four teams are Georgia Southern and VMI)
– The Citadel also ranks in the bottom 25 nationally in defensive eFG%, percentage of blocked shots (defense), and defensive turnover percentage

Now the Bulldogs go on the road for three games, and are under-Bulldogs in all three contests. The first of the matchups will be against James Madison (4-3), which beat The Citadel 74-67 last season and will have the services of point guard Devon Moore for the first time this year. Moore, who had academic issues, will apparently make his 2011-12 debut on the hardwood against the Bulldogs. He scored 19 points in last year’s meeting.

Jeff Hartsell of The Post and Courier has a brief preview of The Citadel’s game at JMU:  Link

The Citadel will then face Denver, a sneaky-good Sun Belt squad (yes, Sun Belt) that has already beaten St. Mary’s and Southern Mississippi. The Pioneers are 8-2 and are led by former Princeton player and coach Joe Scott, who as you may have guessed runs the Princeton-style offense. Denver will be a formidable challenge for The Citadel.

Tennessee is 3-6 and has already lost this season to the College of Charleston and Oakland. Those are good teams, though, and both games were on the road. The Vols also lost at home to Austin Peay, though, a result much harder to fathom.

If the Bulldogs don’t pick it up defensively, these three games could wind up being downright embarrassing. As it is, The Citadel could play fairly well and still go 0-3.

Chuck Driesell has noted that this season is “a process”. It may or may not make Bulldog fans feel better that the coach seems to be as frustrated with the process as they are…

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