YPSILANTI, Mich. —- Uncle Mel is ready for a vacation now that the 2010-11 Eastern Michigan University Men’s basketball season is done and over with there will be some extra free time to look at the brand new AAA travel brochures.
Before Uncle Mel can pack his suntan oil and swim suit and disappear on a beach some where and start the well deserve rest and relaxation your old Uncle Mel will take a few minutes and reflect about the past basketball season for the Eagles.
But first nieces and nephews we all need to take look at the numbers before we can make an accurate evaluation of Eastern Michigan University basketball.
The overall record of nine wins and 22 loses can not hide the fact that season spun out of control early and continued all season. The Eagles finished with a conference mark of 5-12 and shared fourth place in the Mid-American Conference West Davison with Northern Illinois University.
The Eagles earned an 11th seed in the conference basketball tournament and a trip to the James A. Rhodes Arena the home of the fifth seeded University of Akron Zips in the first round of the tournament.
Akron dismissed the Eagles 67-53,Tuesday night March 8, 2011 squashing any kind of miracle run that Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Charles Ramsey and Eagles fans were hoping to happen but instead it just left the bitter taste of the question – what went wrong for the Eagles?
First of all the Eastern Michigan University schedule did not help the Eagles.
A schedule is suppose to be a education tool for any basketball coach, it is a way for a team to be measured, a way for coaches to see the weaknesses and strengths of a team. A schedule also builds team chemistry, create team character and a bond between players.
The Eagles never found a team personality and never really produced any kind of team chemistry and according to former Eastern Michigan University women’s basketball coach and the present women basketball coach of the year in the Big Ten Conference at Michigan State University Suzy Merchant said it is an essential part of any basketball team.
If you are a division one program in basketball then you do not put on your schedule three programs that are not division one schools.
Uncle Mel will agree to one a game that features a non divisional one school that is in state for example Wayne State University is a good match for the Eagles and there could be a rivalry but it must be scheduled early in the season.
Eastern Michigan University played Madonna University a team from the ranks of the NAIA, Rochester College a team that is in something called the NCCAA and a program from the ranks of the NCAA Division 2 Ferris State University and the Eagle schedule maker believes that is substantial enough too make some noise in the NCAA or NIT.
The Eagles did not win a game against a division 1 program until January 8, 2011 the opening night of the Mid-American Conference against the University of Toledo, a 71-48 victory over the Rockets.
The next thing that went wrong for the Eagle the lack of ability to score points either from the floor in front or behind the three-point arch and from the free throw line.
The offense is basic basketball, Ramsey employees a four around one style looking to move the ball around the perimeter with crisp passes and trying to get the defense to overload to one side for a backdoor cut and lay up attempt at the basket.
For the Eagles the passes were never crisp enough, the defense never really over committed and the Eagles could not make baskets.
Eastern Michigan University finished the season averaging 61.5 points good enough for 10th place in a 12 team league. The Eagles finished the season ranked 11th out of 12 teams with a shooting percentage of an unimpressive 38.8 percent from the field.
If that is not enough to make Ramsey shake his head and his blood boil is the inability to make free throws. The Eagles embarrassed themselves at the line by shooting a poor 62.4 percent from the line.
“We work on the free throws everyday,” Ramsey said after the lost against Akron. ‘It is a mental thing.”
Could Ramsey be a problem for the Eagles?
He is a hot temper coach on the sideline, he patrols up and down watching the Eagles and he is always chirping at them.
His antics on the bench and his style of communicating with his players takes Uncle Mel back to the days of Indiana University and Hoosier basketball legionary coach Bobby Knight.
It seems like no matter if a Eagles player makes a good play Ramsey sees only the mistakes made by his player and is in that player’s ear.
Uncle Mel knows that players need to be coached but the Eagles were caught in between you could see that from the sideline and from the seats the confidence leaving the building like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking out all of the air from the player that suffered through a tongue-lashing from Ramsey.
Ramsey’s finishes his sixth season with a record of 68-117 and maybe it is time for Eastern Michigan University Athletic Director Dr. Derrick Gragg to take a look at the direction the Eastern Michigan University program is heading.
Here are the final grades for the 2010-11 basketball season.
Free Throws: F
The grades are not pretty but neither was watching the Eagles this season, the good news is that season is now ancient history.
The plane ticket is in the hand of Uncle Mel and the dreams of palm trees and soft sandy beach is just what the doctor prescribed and Uncle Mel is turning in that paperwork.
So nieces and nephews Uncle Mel will send a post card and get ready for the baseball season.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.