PHILADELPHIA – Before this season, taking into account that his roster featured nine underclassmen and two seniors and knowing what such formulas yield in college basketball, GW men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs encouraged everyone to board his program’s proverbial train and enjoy its unpredictable journey.
That advice, however, came with a warning.
“Once you get on board the train, when it makes a stop, don’t try to jump – no, no,” he said in November. “Stay on the train. No matter what happens, stay on the train.”
A pair of games such as Wednesday’s 65-64 defeat at La Salle and Sunday’s home loss to Xavier, the second of which GW (11-5, 1-2 Atlantic 10) led by double-digits with less than eight minutes left, might appear to be such opportunities to abandon ship.
After winning nine of 11 games to begin the year, the Colonials have now lost three of their last five and two straight, with Hobbs calling Wednesday’s loss the most frustrating so far this season.
But in such situations, there are opportunities for his young team to learn, Hobbs said, something he hopes begins to happen soon.
“I won’t say much because I wanna be very specific and that requires… some review of the tape,” Hobbs said when asked what he would tell his players after the game. “Because we’re so young, I gotta be very specific and really point out directly what is causing us to do these things. I don’t wanna go in and talk and be premature on some things.”
Next for the Colonials will be a trip to Dayton to play a Flyers team that began the season nationally ranked before losing to No. 4/4 Villanova (AP, ESPN/USA Today) and No. 12/13 Kansas State. Dayton’s only other loss came against New Mexico, which fell outside the polls’ top 25 just this week.
The game will likely require a strong effort from this young GW team, which was picked in a preseason media and coaches’ poll to finish 13th in the conference. Dayton was predicted to finish first.
To be able to convert Wednesday’s loss into a possible positive, and perhaps reverse the results of his team’s last two outings, Hobbs said it is first a matter of diagnosis and then treatment.
“I gotta be able to articulate what was going on in this game and put it in a very simple form,” Hobbs said. “And then start to work on it.”