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Elon is just not very good at basketball

I’m sorry but it’s true.

NCAA Basketball: Elon University at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Elon was real bad last year, which prompted the school to make a coaching change, which in the near term will mean that Elon is going to be really, really bad. That’s what happens when you’re bad, and you make a coaching change, and then your top three scorers transfer out.

New head coach Billy Taylor, who has both head coaching experience and a good track record as a power-conference assistant, may well end up a great choice for Elon. But that ain’t going to be apparent this year, because nobody can work miracles.

The education is free!

Elon in '23 Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% 2FG% 3FG%
Elon in '23 Adj OE/DE (rk) eFG% TO% OR% 2FG% 3FG%
Offense 94.6 (291) 50.6 (141) 17.0 (107) 23.2 (283) 55.8 (67) 28.8 (258)
Defense 108.6 (338) 55.5 (302) 18.4 (203) 34.4 (288) 57.4 (317) 35.2 (225)

He’s leaning on the veterans he does have—upperclassmen have started every game—but make no mistake, this is a team ravaged by turnover, as some of these upperclassmen haven’t played big minutes prior to this season. But you have to work the problem as best you can.

Elon is 1-3 overall but 0-3 against D-1 competition and ranked 331st in the Pomeroy Ratings. The Phoenix, for some inexplicable reason, scheduled a game on Thursday night ahead of this Saturday matinee, and they dropped that one at home to 340th-rated North Dakota. I get that it’s a short bus ride over, but I dunno, man.

Elon’s leading scorer this season is Sean Halloran (12.3 PPG), who, fun fact, played for Billy Taylor at Belmont Abbey in 2019. Halloran is 6’0 and 160, as you would figure a dude who spent most of his career in D-II would be. He’s a tough cookie, obviously. Nobody’s going to willingly move up a level with the solid promise of getting the shit kicked out of them without a borderline-sadistic need (never mind a limited game) to challenge themselves. This I can respect.

And to his credit, he’s stepped it up: good shooting inside and out, good assist rate, and he’s thefty. He’ll play all afternoon.

Elon likes to shoot threes but has no apparent shooting depth, and since it has no size either, you can expect the jump shots to be plentiful.

There are two other players averaging double figures so far—Torrance Watson and Zac Ervin, both of them far more interested in taking jumpers than trying to do anything else at the offensive end. Watson (11.5 PPG) spent three years at Missouri, where his role ran the gamut, and is in his second at Elon. He’s attempted 401 threes (31.2%) in his college career, and 148 twos (35.8%).

Ervin has attempted 247 threes (33.2%) and 92 twos (44.6%) over his three-year Elon career. They’re gonna whip that thing up there. That’s just kind of what they have to do.

Maybe they can create a few solid minutes of theater, and if they do manage to do that, then it will almost certainly be entirely their fault, and definitely won’t last.

Elon has no size, can’t disrupt anything at the rim, and can’t rebound. The inadequate athleticism at the guard spots is an unfixable problem that just makes all of the problems elsewhere into bigger problems.

KenPom likes State by 23.