Half Full or Half Empty? Teams Become Offensive When They Don't 'Fill It Up'

Should fans storm the court at halftime if their team makes at least half of its field-goal attempts? Who, in their right mind, pays to watch some of this micro-managed junk with virtually zero creativity? In regard to competency, many overcoached games these days resemble freshman or junior varsity contests prior to freshman eligibility featuring players trying to learn how to properly conduct a layup line.

Is the "D" that dynamic or the "O" that odious? Where are the high-octane shooters adept at "filling it up"? Are the shot clocks malfunctioning while nearly every team seems to run a high-post offense forcing a shot as time runs down? Memo to those who bow at the global-warming altar: Is the half-baked left's answer to all adversity affecting air pressure and thus the flight of balls toward the rim? What are the priorities these days? Have we reached a tipping point where players should have their scholarships immediately rescinded if they don't budget more time practicing their shooting rather than focusing on design of their personal human billboard or being in a tattoo parlor?

In the court of public opinion, AG Eric Holder, a freshman hoopster for Columbia in 1969-70 long before any gun-running in Mexico, must be confiscating "guns" of all types, including those on the basketball court. In Holder's "nation of cowards," Northern Illinois shot blanks when it scored a record-low four points in the first half on 1-of-31 field-goal shooting en route to a 42-25 loss at Eastern Michigan. The Huskies broke the mark for lowest FG% in a half during the shot-clock era (3.2%) and lowest FG% in a game (13.1%). They tied the futility mark for fewest made field goals in a half by missing 29 consecutive attempts. Incredibly, it was the second time this season where NIU scored fewer than six points in a half.

Boasting the skeet-shooting accuracy of budget-buster POTUS despite the firearms fanatic practicing "all the time" between golf outings, players can't even seem to make "free" throws. Ole Miss' decisive points in a 63-61 win at Auburn came from the charity stripe but the Rebels were only 4-of-17 from the line.

We don't know the half of it. Cocky know-it-alls claimed new coach Frank Martin was going to promptly lay the groundwork to spur(rier)ing South Carolina to great heights but the Gamecocks had anything but "game" when they fell behind Florida at intermission, 33-10. The consistent corrosion must be contagious as in-state rival Clemson matched the meager output at intermission when the Tigers trailed Virginia, 38-10. Clemson's comatose offense also generated 10 points at halftime against Duke. In-state Furman outgunned USC and Clemson by trailing Davidson, 39-12.

Kansas was ranked among the nation's top five teams when the Jayhawks managed an anemic two points in the first 13:53 of a debacle at TCU, which was winless in league competition midway through the Big 12 Conference campaign. A week later, TCU trailed Oklahoma at intermission, 36-11. Elsewhere, Cincinnati claims to be a competent tourney-bound team despite going the last 9:21 without a field goal in a loss to visiting Pittsburgh.

Much of the widespread ineptitude gives fans half a mind to leave at halftime and demand at least half of the ticket price back. Many observers long for the good old days when real scorers roamed the earth prior to rules introduced to ostensibly increase point production (shot clock and three-point field goal). Instead, it's commonplace in premier six conferences to have ugly halftime scores such as Arkansas 28/Georgia 18, Clemson 25/Miami (Fla.) 25, Georgia 25/Tennessee 22, Illinois 29/Northwestern 15, Indiana 26/Iowa 14, Indiana 27/Nebraska 18, Kansas 26/Oklahoma State 26, Kansas 28/Texas 15, Marquette 22/Villanova 22, Miami (Fla.) 24/Virginia 22, Minnesota 34/Penn State 12, Missouri 34/Mississippi State 10, Notre Dame 29/Cincinnati 15, Penn State 25/Wisconsin 24, St. John's 26/Notre Dame 22, St. John's 33/South Florida 17, St. John's 24/Villanova 24, Seton Hall 25/Rutgers 23, Syracuse 23/Georgetown 21, Syracuse 43/Providence 16, Vanderbilt 26/Auburn 17, Wisconsin 28/Northwestern 12 and Wisconsin 24/Ohio State 23. Unless you were seeking a cure for insomnia, following are additional examples of the alarming number of hideous halftime scores this season (basketball; not football) including potential postseason teams and members of power leagues:

  • Alabama 23, Auburn 13
  • Alabama 23, Auburn 16
  • Alabama 25, Tennessee 19
  • Arkansas 21, Vanderbilt 11
  • Clemson 20, Georgia Tech 15
  • Colorado 23, Washington State 19
  • Connecticut 22, Georgetown 19
  • Duke 25, Clemson 10
  • Florida 24, Vanderbilt 14
  • George Washington 21, Georgia 18
  • Georgetown 25, Syracuse 18
  • Georgia 23, South Carolina 16
  • Georgia 25, Texas A&M 16
  • Illinois 25, Minnesota 16
  • Iowa 23, Purdue 16
  • Kansas 24, Kansas State 16
  • Louisville 23, Syracuse 19
  • Marquette 20, Georgetown 19
  • Maryland 22, North Carolina State 16
  • Memphis 22, Texas-El Paso 22
  • Michigan 20, Wisconsin 17
  • Miami (Fla.) 18, Clemson 16
  • Miami (Fla.) 19, Maryland 14
  • Michigan State 25, Wisconsin 18
  • Minnesota 20, Michigan State 18
  • Minnesota 17, Northwestern 14
  • Nebraska 19, Wisconsin 19
  • Northwestern 24, Texas Christian 14
  • Oklahoma State 24, South Florida 19
  • Oregon 25, Nevada 14
  • Pittsburgh 22, Notre Dame 19
  • Providence 16, Penn State 14
  • Purdue 20, Eastern Michigan 19
  • Purdue 19, Iowa 16
  • Saint Louis 33, New Mexico 13
  • Saint Louis 23, Richmond 19
  • Saint Louis 24, Xavier 20
  • San Diego State 25, Fresno State 17
  • South Florida 27, Connecticut 15
  • South Florida 20, Seton Hall 17
  • Syracuse 24, Marquette 18 (regional final)
  • Tennessee 18, Georgetown 16
  • Tennessee 25, Mississippi 18
  • Texas Christian 22, Kansas 13
  • Texas-El Paso 22, Southern Mississippi 16
  • UNLV 32, Wyoming 12
  • Vanderbilt 24, South Carolina 19
  • Virginia 26, Norfolk State 16
  • Virginia 25, Tennessee 16
  • Washington State 21, Texas A&M 16
  • Wyoming 20, San Diego State 9

San Diego State returned the favor against Wyoming by taking a 37-13 halftime lead in their rematch before KU kept TCU under wraps by a 38-9 halftime count. Only half a fool or half empty (upstairs) believes contemporary players are better than counterparts from several decades ago. How many players thus far in the 21st Century would be a cinch to be included among the all-time Top 100 to 150 collegians in regard to impact on the game?

For a stark contrast showing how the other half lived, following is a summary of several league games involving the same opponents in the 1970s when players set school single-game scoring records: Auburn's John Mengelt (60 points vs. Alabama in 1970), Maryland's Earnest Graham (44 vs. North Carolina State in 1978) and Purdue's Rick Mount (61 vs. Iowa in 1970). How many points would Graham, Mengelt and Mount have scored if there had been a three-point arc at the time to further embarrass today's "Gang That Can't Shoot Straight"?