Monday, December 7, 2009

Poison Ivy

There were few aspects of this game that will have Calhoun smiling. Harvard showed more energy, effort, and fortitude then the more talented Huskies. The rebounding was severely lacking again, they weren’t getting back on defense, and the rotation on the help defense was non-existent. Harvard’s guards had no problem getting by the more athletic UConn guards and caused the bigs to help out, leaving their men for easy offensive boards. They must do a better job at the simple pick and roll. It is killing them. UConn didn’t have a horrible game offensively. Their jumpers were sinking and they were excellent with finishing off the break, but if they don’t clean up the rebounding then they are going to be floundering in the middle of the pack in the Big East.

Dyson didn’t see a shot that he didn’t like. He shot elbow jumpers, floaters in the lane, an off-balance three, jumpers on the wings, and finished strong on the break. He had trouble with screens and allowed guards into the lane for easy looks at the basket. He also didn’t block out, because he was ball-watching, and caused an offensive board. He did remain around the basket to help out with rebounding, was aggressive with the ball in his hands, and knocked down free throws late in the game. He needs to attack the lane, draw in the defense and dish out to Kemba for open threes more. He can’t shoulder the offensive load alone.

Walker has one of the most beautiful shots when he sets his feet. He needs to remain behind the arc for this team to be successful. He showed his one-man fast break ability, but it was his threes and jumper in transition that was truly impressive. He needs to keep shooting the ball, because he has the best stroke on the team. The one negative about his day was that he was caught ball-watching and let his man sneak in for an offensive board. He is the tone setter for this team.

Robinson made a concerted effort to remain around the paint and it showed. He had several tip-ins and boards. He showed some great post moves which is exciting, but his shot needs to soften up. It never hits the rim more then once. He is also moving well without the ball and creating easy buckets for himself. He did have a few defensive lapses, and played off his man, creating an and-one situation, but his effort was excellent and he needs to carry it over.

Edwards continues to be UConn’s most reliable post threat, and he has such a soft touch with his shot, shown by his excellent free throw shooting. He should be shooting two or three elbow jumpers a game with the touch he has shown from the line. He was caught twice not blocking out for offensive boards, once at the free throw line which is unacceptable. He is also jumping to block everything, creating fouls and leaving his man for boards. Calhoun doesn’t want to curb his aggressiveness with his blocking though.

Oriakhi didn’t have his best game. He was caught not boxing out and allowed an offensive board, was beat to the spot and allowed an easy bucket, had a rebound knocked out of his hand, and didn’t have a post touch in the first half. He did have a block, offensive board, and steal, but he needs to be able to receive the ball in the post for UConn’s offense to flow. Without an inside-outside game, the half court sets are struggling.

Beverly was the first guard off the bench and worked the point. He dribbled too much in the half court set and let his man run by him twice defensively. Okwandu played well in his limited role, hitting the elbow jumper. Smith is a defensive liability. He is letting his man blow by him and causing the whole defense to breakdown. He isn’t fighting through screens and needs to do better or he will be riding the pine. Coombs-McDaniel struggled from deep, but he looks fluid when attacking the rim. He was also caught not blocking out and caused an offensive board. Trice was a non-factor.

The problem with the rebounding falls on the ease that UConn’s guards are letting their man drive into the lane, causing the bigs to help out with no one rotating over to take their man, ball-watching, and simply leaping for the ball instead of putting a body on a defender. It is something that they need to correct and in a hurry because it doesn’t get any easier with Kentucky. It is also troubling when UConn starts giving up career highs, which was a habit that they thought they cured. It isn’t a combination that they want to have, especially with an athletic and explosive team laying in wait for them.

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