Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anatomy of an Upset

It was all there, offensive rebounding, wide open three point shooters, sloppy possessions, and a one dimensional offense. Hofstra had it all there for the taking but fell short on some last second heroics from Jerome Dyson. There are some very serious concerns for UConn and it starts with securing the ball after a miss. While the referees let a lot of contact go down low, UConn’s frontcourt had trouble containing the ball, letting it bounce around until the smaller Hofstra players snagged it. This has been an ongoing concern from game one in the preseason. Edwards and Oriakhi are jumping when the ball hits the rim and not putting a body against their opponent. Hofstra had wide open looks throughout the game but had many bounce out. Against a more talented squad, UConn would’ve been down by twenty. There is a lot of work to be done with little time to do it.

Dyson saved the day. While most of the game he struggled to find his game, he came up clutch with attacking the rim when they were in the bonus and knocking down key free throws. He still is a little wild with some of his shots around the rim, but there is little to criticize about his performance, since he took over the game down the stretch.

Walker did a little of everything, except show his outside shot. He had a wicked crossover, attacked the basket in transition, and showed the mid-ranged jumper. He did try to dribble through a double team and had a turnover, but overall, he had a solid evening.

Robinson had a tough act to follow up and his shot was way off. His athletic ability will always have him create easy buckets, but he wasn't his usual self in the rebounding department, which UConn dearly missed. He was sloppy with his passes and had some defensive lapses that had Calhoun in his grill. The Huskies need him to be consistent and he hasn’t been.

Edwards had an up and down game. He has definitely shown a more athletic aspect to his game, with several blocks and a massive transition dunk, but he is having a hard time holding onto the ball in traffic and has let smaller players swipe the ball out of his hands for offensive boards.

Oriakhi showed some tough rebounding again, especially late in the game, but he is still making poor decisions in traffic. Most of his shots were rolling around the rim and he began to get frustrated and not demand the ball.

Coombs-McDaniels didn’t have his outside shot but did look good driving through contact. He has already surpassed Smith and Trice off the bench. He is going to be a really good player by the end of the year. Beverly must have shown Calhoun something, because he got a ton of minutes in the first half and he didn’t disappoint. He played the point to free up Walker, drove to the rim, rebounded, and handled the press well. Trice and Smith had another limited role. Okwandu showed a little athleticism with a leaping block.

Everything was there for the upset but Dyson wouldn’t let it happen. What was impressive was that he was playing his third game in five days. But if UConn continues to play uphill, they are going to be a middle of the pack Big East team. They need to sure up the rebounding, close out on shooters and find a way to stretch the defense with outside shooting. If they can’t then it is going to be a long season.

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