Friday, February 1, 2008

BYU Review/Pre-TCU

It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I posted something on this blog.

My bad.

Anyway, I’ll be providing game reviews from here on out, so here’s a mini-BYU Review along with some additional thoughts going into a pivotal stretch for the Falcons.

As David Ramsey pointed out in his column after the BYU game, everything was set up for the Falcons Wednesday night – home crowd, star player of the opposing team under the weather and a week off to prepare.

And Air Force still lost. Disappointing for fans, for sure, but maybe that’s about what should have been expected.

The thing about this Air Force team is that when it’s shooting the lights out – which it’s capable of doing – and playing good defense, it can look very, very good. The problem is shooting is a big-time variable. And you can’t really rely on it to carry you all the time. Last year’s team is a perfect example. Look at the UNLV game in Vegas when the Falcons desperately hoisted 39 3s and lost by 10.

So here’s the point – those top-notch shooting nights that lead to quality wins probably raise expectations to unrealistic levels. No matter how good this team has looked on certain nights, there also have been dismal losses to Northern Illinois and Colorado and the escape (helped by a generous no-call and then call) against Radford.

An 8-8 season still would be a big-time triumph.

Some other quick thoughts:

-Tim Anderson has been scoring in bunches lately, so it’s easy to overlook the best part of his game: His defense.

Anderson’s hands always seem to be in the way or poking a ball out of an opponent’s hands. His feet are deceptively quick. And he has uncanny anticipation that allows him to flash into passing lanes and make steals. A case in point was his theft with just less than 7 minutes to play in the first half of the BYU game. He made an aggressive break, swiped an inbounds pass and went for a layin.

One conference coach told me last year that he voted for Anderson as the defensive player of the year in the league. He might get some more votes this year.

-Anwar Johnson is wonderfully athletic. He has made some jaw-dropping moves to get to the hole this year.


Once he gets there …

Perhaps the ability to finish is an innate gift like having a nose for the ball (like Anderson has on defense). But maybe he can learn it. If he can, Air Force will have an important piece to its offensive puzzle.

-Tomorrow’s game is huge if Air Force wants to have any prayer of staying in the conference race.

Look what’s up after the Falcons face TCU, one of the only teams in the league that’s better this year than it was last year:

at San Diego State (where the Aztecs are tough to beat and last year clobbered Air Force by 21 points)

v. Utah (a team that blew out the Falcons earlier this year)

at UNLV (another team that’s tough to beat at home.

Is tomorrow’s game a must-win? Only if Air Force wants any part of the race for the league title.

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