Saturday, November 29, 2008

Showing some swagger

While Bryant played hard, they were overmatched. They had nothing to defend the inside game. But what was learned in this game was that UConn’s offense needs to flow through Dyson. It wasn’t until he started taking the ball to the basket that they started to pull away. The help defense looked good and everyone contributed on the boards. Rotations are beginning to solidified and players are settling into their roles.

We’ve seen Hasheem come out against smaller teams and become invisible. Not this game. He made his presence felt from the tip to the buzzer. He had the line of the night with 16 points, 12 boards, and 3 blocks. UConn lived in the paint and gobbled up 16 offensive rebounds. Adrien was solid with 14 points, 9 boards, and 2 blocks. He just needs to leave running the break to the guards. He is still hesitant to use that elbow jumper and used the dribble drive for most of his points.

Austrie had his best game of the year. He sank a few floaters and was knocking down the outside shot. He’ll be able to get open looks all season with teams shrinking the zone to defend the paint. He just needs to execute. Price also had his best overall performance of the year. He was looking for his offense all game and took 11 three point attempts. It is also great to see his assists (4) to turnovers (1) look more Price like.

Dyson is the key to the offense. When he is able to get into the teeth of the defense good things start to happen. He is also playing superior defense and has a knack of getting into the passing lanes for steals. Sky-Walker came in and played aggressive, getting to the line 5 times. He is fitting well into the rotation and doesn’t hesitate with decision making.

Gavin played 18 minutes and grabbed 5 boards. He has been a little lax on the defensive end, leaving his man early to help out and giving up easy buckets. Okwandu got the most bang out of his minutes. He got 4 boards, 3 offensive, and to the line in his 6 minutes of play. The Thabeet and Okwandu lineup looked intriguing and effective. Beverly is going to be an Austrie type of player. Solid. He comes in and contributes without playing out of control. Haralson was on a mission to make a basket even if it was going to cost him a tongue lashing from Calhoun.

These tune-up games are vital for UConn. They need to see what depth they have behind their starters. While they are dominating teams now, they are going to need Okwandu, Walker, and Gavin to contribute during crucial stretches of tight ballgames. Calhoun has to be pleased with the fluidity of his offense and unselfishness of his players to pass the ball (18 assists). With the defense beginning to catch up, this team is beginning to find its swagger.

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