December 29, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans head coach Andy Enfield watches game action against the Howard Bison during the second half at Galen Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

So You Want To Play Slow Basketball? Do Not Go To UCLA

On Thursday, October 17, Pac-12 Basketball Media Day, comments emerged from USC, which were aimed at UCLA and new head coach Steve Alford. New USC Basketball head coach Andy Enfield, caught heat for the comments, which he claimed, were meant for his USC players and were to “stay on the court”.

Welcome to the entertainment capital of the world, Coach Enfield, where everything you say can and will be used against you. Especially with this new thing called “ Social Media”. So, Coach Enfield, what was it that you said?

That is weird. Even before the season started, Enfield was negatively commenting on his crosstown rival’s style of play. He made these comments even before he coached a single game at USC. He made these comments even before Alford coached a game at UCLA. Surely he was taken out of context and not actually taking a shot at Alford.

At the end of November 2013, more comments from Enfield emerged from an interview he did with Men’s Journal.

I don’t worry about [UCLA]. I have made it to one Sweet Sixteen in two years, and [Alford’s] made it to one Sweet Sixteen in 18 years” –Enfield

That comment could not be mistaken as anything but a jab at UCLA and their new coach. What is Enfield getting at?

It is not that he is critiquing UCLA, he is being a rival, which is fine. So is what he is saying sound or is there just a lot of wind exiting Enfield’s mouth?

If you know the enemy and yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” –Sun Tzu, The Art Of War

Interesting take, Mr. Tzu. So, basically, you will defeat your enemy if you know about your enemy. So does Enfield really know about Alford and UCLA? Let us see.

Enfield’s statement refers to the (slow) tempo of UCLA, so let us compare both the Bruin’s and Trojan’s statistics:

Stat: UCLA (National Rank)/USC (National Rank)

Points Per Game: 85.5 (13th)/75.0 (130th)

Rebounds Per Game: 36.5 (151st)/40.8 (24th)

Assists Per Game: 18.4 (5th)/14.5 (92nd)

Field Goal Percentage: .522 (2nd)/.460 (108th)

Steals Per Game: 10.7 (2nd)/5.5 (257th)

Steal/Turnover Ratio: 1.00 (4th)/0.40 (281st)

Scoring Rate: 1 pt every 28.1 seconds/1pt every 32.0 seconds

Wait a minute, so the only thing USC is beating UCLA at is rebounds per game? Very interesting, but that does not address the tempo of UCLA versus USC. The last statistic, does.

So Enfield says to go to UCLA if you want to play slow. Well, Enfield is currently playing a slower tempo of ball. Not only that, but UCLA’s statistics are blowing away those of USC. So basically, Enfield is eating his words. It is unclear what he is basing his comments on, but they were clearly out of place. Now he has to face the team and coach he has been so vocal about on Sunday at noon, at Pauley Pavilion. Maybe he should not say anything before the game… or at all.

Moral of the story: do not open your mouth unless you know what you are talking about.

Mike W.R.

Twitter: @TheBigDisco

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