That's right, a con game.
Not that we've been conned into believing our coaching staff are miracle workers, but it's a "con" of different sort. IMHO, it's the lack of "con" that is missing. CONFIDENCE.
Our 3-1 start to WCC play looks good, but we all know is hasn't been easy. Maybe gritty, but not pretty. Wins against lower echelon teams is expected, but the road ahead gets continually harder facing the "big three" and a revived USF team.
The biggest of all the "cons" is confidence; which comes from learning consistency, concentration on the game plan, and getting contributions from every team member. When you successfully add all those "cons" together, you end up with a lot of "pros."
So far, it seems the connection from strong practice performances to strong game performances has been inconsistent. There is confusion from the assignments on the white board to what happens at the backboard. It's confounding to all of us.
The other day, I asked Women's Volleyball coach Jon Wallace (14 NCAA's in 19 seasons) how he deals with the above scenario. His answer: details. He continually works on the skills and details that allows his players to be in the best position to be successful. When they connect those details in game situations, boom, they build. You got it, CONFIDENCE.
That's where we are now with MBB connecting those details on the floor. You can see it when players miss a good shot or are unable to finish at the rim or are out of position on D and give up an easy 3-pointer.
The next four games vs St. Mary's, BYU, USF (road) and Gonzaga will be full frontal confrontations on our journey to put all our "cons" together as we try to contend in the WCC.
I know we're all concerned. Rightfully so. None of us, coaches and players included, will be content until NCAA's happen.
The investment in the MBB program has a confirmed goal to be nationally relevant - by 2020. Instead of of being adrift the past 20 years, we have a plan for a steady continuum of being better.
We have a coaching staff with considerable skills and track records. Once they get all our "cons" going in the right direction, it will breed confidence, creating a winning culture that will become contagious with success on the court and throughout the University.
When that happens, I'll be the first to offer congratulations!