clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What has caused Presbyterian’s rough start?

The Blue Hose are struggling after one of the best seasons in school history. What changed?

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 18 Presbyterian at Notre Dame Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Presbyterian Blue hose have a new face on the end of the bench. After Dustin Kerns took his defensive minded coaching over to Appalachian State, the Blue Hose needed someone new. They found their guy in Quinton Ferrell, a former player and assistant coach at Presbyterian.

Ferrell has seen success at Presbyterian, helping take them all the way to the Division II regional semifinals in 2006. This isn’t his first time on the Presbyterian bench as a coach either. He was an assistant during the transition up to the Division I level as he spent a total of five years on the sidelines from 2007-2012.

Even though experience and familiarity with the program would seem to be in the favor of Ferrell and the Blue Hose, it hasn’t worked out in the early portions of the season. Following their loss to Michigan last Saturday, the Blue Hose sit at 2-10 with their only win over a D-I opponent being an OT win against VMI. This is a team coming off a 20-16 record that made a trip to and even won games in the CIT. So what’s gone wrong with this Presbyterian team?

When watching this team, a lot of things stick out. Dustin Kerns made this team lock down on defense, and score just enough points to get by and win games. This year is the opposite. The Blue Hose seem to lack a true No. 1 option when it comes to scoring, and they struggle with playing clean basketball. A team can’t turn the ball over a ton and still expect to win games, and that’s what this Presbyterian team is doing. They’re averaging 14.5 turnovers a game with a -2.5 turnover margin. For a team that can’t lock down on defense, winning the turnover battle is a must.

Presbyterian returns just one starter from last year in sophomore Cory Hightower. Hightower rarely leaves the floor, averaging 32.9 minutes per game, which leads the team. His stats are above average, but they’re not the worldburning numbers you might see from a top returner. Hightower leads the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game, but he’s also second in rebounding with 5.3 boards per game and second in assists at 2.6 per game.

The Blue Hose play at one of the slower tempos in the country, averaging only 66.4 possessions per game, which ranks as the 302nd slowest in the country. The only Big South team with a slower tempo is Radford, but Radford also ranks in the top 100 in KenPom’s offensive efficiency. Presbyterian, on the other hand, is ranked as the No. 310 offense in the country, and it shows as the Blue Hose only average only 63 points per game.

The defense doesn’t help much at all either. The Blue Hose are 338th in defensive efficiency, which makes them one of the worst in the country. They give up almost 74 points per game, and it hasn’t improved throughout non-conference play. Their defense is eighth in the Big South in points allowed, with both High Point and Hampton allowing over 77 points per game.

Their inability to score, not being able to defend, and sloppy play has prevented Presbyterian of being able to find its footing in non-conference play. The Blue Hose have the pieces and role players to clean it up, although they haven’t shown it yet. Quinton Ferrell still looks like a good hire for the Blue Hose, but the first weeks of Big South play will be key in the future of Quinton Ferrell and Presbyterian basketball as a whole.