Controling the things you can control.... like you temper

By Steve DiMiceli

In general, I've been happy with what I've seen from Jim Ferry's team so far. I liked the rebounding before the last two games. I like the transition game that's emerging. I think that he's getting a lot more out of the team than a lot of people thought he would. I like that his philosophy is simple. His commonly referenced mantras include "get better everyday" and "control the things you can control." Both are achievable and don't require a ton of advanced explanation. Of course, there is one thing he and his team are not controlling, their temper.

The amount of technical fouls the last two weeks are getting out of hand. Ferry has been assessed two since the Robert Morris game. One of his assistants was called in Happy Valley. Jeremiah Jones has three in the last four games including an ejection for a flagrant foul against Western Michigan. He also fouled out of the Penn St game. It's not just the technical fouls. The Dukes are averaging 16 personals per game on the season, but that's ticked up to 17.25 over the last four games and 19.33 the last three.

All the fouling and the techs are coming back to bite the Dukes. Towards the end of first half of the Penn St game, Duquesne was beginning to gain some momentum when they cut a double digit deficit to 5. Down 8 following a Nittany Lion three with less than a minute left, Ferry got called for a technical. Immediately afterwards, an assistant got called for one leading 4 consecutive foul shots and a 5 point possession (3-4 from the line, 2 pt FG made on the ensuing possession) ballooning the lead to 13. Ferry's technical against Robert Morris helped the Colonials bury the Dukes during their assault to begin the second half resulting in another 5 point trip for the opponent (2-2, 3 pointer made). After sticking a three that could have helped give the Dukes some confidence in the same game, Jones said something to a Robert Morris player and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct. The Colonials ended up with two shots, the ball and a well timed shift in momentum back in their favor.

The problem with technical FT's is that players tend to make them. Teams on the receiving end get to pick their best shooter on the floor to go to the line and that best shooter tends to hit.  It's giving your opponent free points and a possession. Jones is a very valuable piece of the team on defense.  When he is ejected, he spreads the Dukes thin and puts a lot of pressure on Jerry Jones and Quevyn Winters to match his defensive intensity. We're a better team when he is available so he needs to stay in the game.

At the end of the day, this team and staff need to get their emotions under control. I like tough, fiery play even if it gets a little dirty. However,  I like it when it comes from competitive spirit rather than anger or retaliation.  When it comes from the former, you put yourself in position to win games. When it comes from the later, you make it a lot harder on yourself. I can understand the lack of self control from a young team, but I think it's unacceptable to come from the coaches. Don't get me wrong, every head coach can and probably should accumulate a couple of T's over the course of the season but two in four games is inexcusable. Assistants should never get called. It's difficult to expect a team to play under control when the staff don't always coach that way.