Sunday, March 7, 2010
Well that about settles it. UConn is NIT bound. Calhoun had enough of the unenergetic, not running back, late rotation, not blocking out, poor decision making, and overall lack of effort from his seniors and said, hell to high water with the Tournament and decided to play his reserves for the rest of the game. Funny thing is that they almost pulled this one out. It is amazing how this team plays at two totally separate paces. Sometimes they are lightning fast on both ends of the court and at other times they look to be playing barefoot. Calhoun just couldn’t find the right buttons to push to keep this team playing at the breakneck tempo that it needed to be successful. What this game does do is show some of the talent that has been sitting there on the bench the whole time. They just needed some extended minutes to showcase it.
Dyson struggled mightily again. He didn’t show much exertion out there and was beat several times down court. He has been struggling with his jumper for a few games now and it has started to effect his lay-ups too. They were rolling around the rim and out. He just isn’t getting fouled driving to the rim that he has been feasting on during much of the season. He hasn't been aggressive with the ball in his hands and it has hurt the team. It will be interesting to see how he responds to sitting his last regular season game on the bench.
Walker has stepped up and seized the mantel of being the leader of this team. He is in a bit of a shooting slump, but when the offense is flowing throw him, good things start to happen. He very nearly stole this game. He played with a lot of energy when he came back into the game and started taking the ball to the rim more, which is what he needs to do. He does well at the two guard and the future looks a bit brighter after this game.
Robinson’s jumper is missing in action and if he isn’t rebounding with any authority then he is silent for major stretches of the ballgame. He has too much talent to be silent for so long. When was the last time that he had an offensive foul? He needs to be much more aggressive with his game.
Edwards started the game out well with some strong boards, a 15-footer, blocks, and some dunks, but in the second half, he was a jump shooter and that isn’t his game. He was also getting beat time after time with back screens, late rotations, and sagging off his man. Oriakhi did show a baseline jumper and a ferocious dunk, but he is still struggling with defending without fouling and it is frustrating him. He is also struggling with late rotations too.
Majok had a solid performance with a sweet jump hook, strong boards, dunks, a tie-up, and some blocks. He is still fouling too much and did give up a free throw rebound, but he played an overall good game. Okwandu had a lay-up and offensive board, but also had a horrible foul while trying to wall off the point guard.
Beverly had his best game of his career and made play after play in the second half. He showed a pretty jumper and was active. Next year looks a bit brighter if he can contribute like he did. Smith looked to be stealing Donnell's minutes and when Dyson was sent to the bench, Beverly didn’t hesitate to show his skills. Smith played alright, but is having trouble on defense. He did have a tough assignment with covering one of the Big East’s best players in Dominque Jones. Smith is over aggressive and gives his defender a first step on him. Coombs-McDaniel did well and didn’t give up after two early misses. He eventually hit a 3-ball and a couple of lay-ups. He also played the passing lanes well for a couple of steals.
Truth be told, UConn didn’t deserve to be dancing. They haven’t played with intensity in a night in and night out basis. They continue to let teams into the lanes for easy buckets and can’t defend without fouling. Calhoun has been so frustrated that he used the zone more then at any other time and it was ineffective. Teams are also getting into the bonus in the second half at around the seven minute mark and coasting to the victory at the charity stripe. The Big East tournament now lies ahead of them with winning the whole thing as their only legitimate chance of making the Big Dance. But with the way they have been playing, having one solid game out of every four or five, that winning four games in a row is nearly impossible. But with this team, who the heck knows.