I watched most of the Stanford-Colorado State game the other night. While the Rams looked to get out in transition, the Cardinal was having none of it. In the second half especially, every Stanford possession featured 5-6 passes and a look towards the post. Stanford's point guard was constantly putting up his arms as to say; let's make sure we run a play. UC Davis has a new head coach, Jim Les. He comes over from Bradley where his teams were typically moderate pace-wise and played solid defense. Four games in, and it is clear to Les that running up and down the court and not playing defense is no way to be successful. In reading some quotes on Tuesday's effort against UC Santa Cruz, it looks as if there are going to be some personnel changes.
"We have to change some habits," Les said. "We've got a lot of guys who are concerned about their offense. To me, to have success at this level, you have to defend."
"I'm going to have to find the five guys for the rest of this week who are going to commit to defending, and those guys are going to get the lion's share of the minutes," Les said.
That doesn't mean UC Davis is going to start holding teams in the 50's. The culture from the previous coaching regime is to outscore the opposition and that will take some time to correct. But with a little more effort tonight, against a team that wants to play a half court game, I don't think we'll see as many points as projected. Keep in mind that Stanford is also a very sound defensive team, holding both Fresno and Colorado State to under 60. And even when they did put up big offensive numbers against Fresno State (56% FGs, 38 FT attempts), the Cardinal managed a rather modest 75 points in part because they took their time on offense.