Sunday, January 31, 2010

Keeping the Faith

This one was a tough loss. UConn played a pretty good game, other then the turnovers. The big three in Jerome, Walker, and Dyson all played effectively on offense, the outside shot was dropping, they stopped the dribble penetration, and the rebounding was solid, but they still lost. They just can’t make the positive plays down the stretch, they make defensive lapses that hand the game over, and teams are coming up clutch against them. It is such a shame to see the season slide downhill the way it has. There is a lot of talent and heart on this senior laden team, and to have them lose these games to bury their chance to enjoy the NCAA tournament is unfair but justified. They just haven’t played good basketball all season.

Dyson was aggressive and played solid basketball for thirty-nine minutes. For one horrible decision to foul a jump shooter down the stretch to mar his day isn’t right. He has carried this team on numerous occasions but he just hasn’t been able to sustain it through the finish line this year.

Walker had back-to-back good games. He is still taking too much time in getting into the offense, but he is much more aggressive in these past two ballgames. There was a time in the second half that he took over the game with steals, fast break buckets and jumpers. He needs to take that five minutes of basketball and stretch it throughout the entire game.

Robinson was much better in the rebounding department and had his usual high flying dunks. He is rushing his shots in the mid-ranged game and needs to be more effective in the final five minutes of the game. He has come leaps and bounds from last year, but with his limitless potential, this team needs more positive plays from him to help pull away from teams late.

Gavin had a solid game, rebounding much better and hustling for loose balls and rebounds. He didn’t contribute much in the post, but he does a lot of dirty work for this team that doesn’t show up in the stat sheet. Oriakhi was invisible for major stretches of this game and other then rebounding, he wasn’t much of a factor.

Majok was at times the best player on the floor, which is exciting to see. He is really settling into his role. Being extremely active, he blocked shots, had offensive boards, played better help defense, showed a soft touch from the line, and made a variety of positive plays. He is still fouling to much and taking ill advised shots, but he is playing much better. Okwandu made and appearance but wasn’t effective, getting pushed around and had a turnover.

Coombs-McDaniel played solid defense but didn't add much to the offense and missed another free throw. For someone who made over one hundred straight in practice, he misses a ton in games. Blaney uses Beverly more then Calhoun does. He has been playing well with the extended minutes and had a nice hustle steal, but hasn’t been able to assert himself on the offensive end in the half court sets. Smith also made an appearance. He definitely needs to bulk up, but looks like a very speedy guard. He has done much better on defense, but had an unforced travel call.

It’s tough to say that the post season is lost, especially since teams are beating up on each other so much in this league and there is always the outside shot of catching lightning in a bottle in the conference tournament, but this team isn’t putting things together and making plays down the stretch of games and it doesn’t look like they will. They’ll need to go on a major winning streak and keep themselves above .500 in the standings for a outside shot, but it’s awfully hard keeping the faith.

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