Sunday, February 14, 2010
Embarrassing. This game set half court offense back fifty years. UConn could only muster six jumpers all game long and they kept banging their heads up against that wall over and over. Someone explain to them that off-balanced jumpers aren’t a high percentage play. The turnovers continue to plague them too and not the ones that Calhoun can live with. The sloppy weak passes and the out of control dribbling are unacceptable and they’ve been excepting them all season long. Couple that with the lack of putting a body on a man all game, every game, for the entire year is killing them. Please learn to position rebound and not jump for the ball. While they continue to struggle in the half court, the defense has improved, but they are keeping teams in the lead by sending them to the line. The worst part about this awful season is that this team isn’t improving, in fact it looks like it is getting worse. Why can’t they box out? Why can’t they stop the careless turnovers? And why can’t they understand that their strength isn’t in their jumper?
Dyson had an off game and that derailed the entire offense. Without him leading the way, UConn was left floundering in offensive ineptitude. He carried the ball, dribbled it off his foot, traveled, didn’t block out and gave up an offensive board, missed lay-ups, and let his defender by him for easy buckets. It wasn’t all bad, he did hit a 3-ball, was fouled five times driving, and had an offensive board, but most of that was in the first half. In the second, he struggled mightily and no one stepped up.
While Walker was sensational against Syracuse, he was a shell of that in this game. He had an early foul, but made up for that with two 3-balls, lay-ups, and a jumper. The unfortunate thing was that he made just as many negative plays. He had a bad early foul, missed a ton of shots, and had some poor decisions with the basketball. He needs to be more aggressive with the rock, especially when Dyson is struggling like he did.
Robinson also had a ton of positive first half plays but was no where to be seen in the second half. He had a poster transition dunk and spectacular dribble drive finish, but his jumper was not there all game and he did a horrible job in the rebounding department, having the ball stripped or bounce right off his hands. He is just not doing the things that need to be done to counteract bigger frontcourts and he had another opportunity to dive to the ground for a tie-up and didn’t.
Edwards is still fumbling with the ball and getting out muscled in the paint and it costing UConn big time. He couldn’t make enough positive plays this time to balance out his negative ones. He is getting pushed around when trying to box out and when he does get his hands on the ball, it is getting stripped from him. Another troubling aspect to Edwards game is that he is struggling from the line, his one true strength. He did have a couple of put-back dunks and a post up score, but his lazy passing and slippery hands negated all of that.
Oriakhi didn’t have much of an impact on this game other then a few rebounds and a blocked shot. He is also getting pushed around in the paint and fumbling the ball when it is in his hands. UConn needs much more consistency from him. Calhoun didn’t show much love to Majok who played sparingly. He took an early elbow jumper, played solid help defense, and hustle save, but didn’t play the minutes that he did under Blaney. Okwandu played Majok’s minutes and took a horrible hook shot, but had two steals. He is having problems with getting out muscled for rebounds. The bigs got killed in this game and most of the season. There hasn’t been a game that they outplayed the opponents frontcourt and that has put to much pressure on the backcourt to pick up the slack.
Beverly struggled with an early turnover and gave up an and-one. He was aggressive with a drive to the rim and had a steal, but he is not looking for any offense even when he is open. Coombs-McDaniel is in a horrible shooting slump, having an air-ball on his only attempt. He needs to attack the rim and try the mid-ranged shot. Smith had a couple of first half minutes but was too aggressive on defense and gave up an easy lane to the basket and had to foul.
Calhoun returned but the team he left is still the same. They have the same issues, the same inconsistency from game to game, possession to possession. That hasn’t changed and won’t. They are what they are. No matter what they show or do in practice, once the whistle blows, they are what they are and that is mediocrity. Without Dyson shouldering the load the offense results to last second jumpers and that isn’t their strength. Teams are being physical with UConn’s frontcourt and they are backing down. For the first year players in Oriakhi, Majok, and Okwandu it is understandable, but Edwards is a senior and it is unacceptable to have his inconsistency in each and every game. For Dyson it is the turnovers and Robinson the rebounding. It all adds up to sitting at the bottom of the Big East standings with no real possibility to climb out.