On the heels of the drubbing at Georgetown, the Red Storm are 0-2 with a contest against the imposing Villanova this Saturday at Madison Square Garden, the first home game of the Big East schedule.
There's still time to turn the season around, and these losses may be the low points before the Johnnies start clicking. Or there may be more.
Steve Lavin, after the game on Saturday, said (via ESPN), "I’ve also coached long enough and had teams that oftentimes it was the school of hard knocks - it was sometimes getting worse before it gets better, but eventually it’ll get better. That’s what we’re after."
Reader Andrew pointed out via email that the 2011, senior-laden Johnnies with Norm Roberts' recruits were a clunky 11-8 and losers of five of six after a 25-point demolishing in the Verizon Center to the Hoyas.
Naturally, they housed Duke (4 in Pomeroy's rankings at the time, 3rd in the AP ranking) and went on the reach the NCAA Tournament.
But the growing pains are hard. From after that game, discussing a players-only meeting mentioned by Dwight Hardy, D.J. Kennedy had this to say, via the NY Daily News:
"We can't panic. Everybody's got to keep their heads up. Every time we go on a little losing streak, everybody looks for the panic button. Stay together, learn from this. If we win the next three, it will be a whole different story....It's the Big East....We just happened to get the rough end of the schedule."
From Saturday, courtesy of ESPN again, Steve Lavin talks about that 2011 squad:
"That [Dwight] Hardy group, it was probably early February they really started turning the corner in understanding [sustaining concentration, sustaining the level of execution, sustaining your defensive coverages], it took us a while."
Keep that in mind.
Yes, we can have a conversation about why it's taken so long to create a cohesive brand of basketball, and whether it's a good thing that the team has to land in this kind of doldrum and have to fight its way back into NCAA consideration.
Yes, there is a lot of work to be done.
Yes, this team will carry flaws into any postseason tournament it makes.
But the stark reality is that there is a lot of hoops time left, isn't there?