Saturday, February 19, 2011

Colossal Letdown

It was ugly. UConn just can’t figure out the match-up zone and struggled to get any offense going. They gave up too many offensive rebounds, turned the ball over on numerous sloppy passes, and gave up lay-up after lay-up because of the inability to stop dribble penetration and had poor rotation all game. It ended up in a colossal letdown. Offensively, the frontcourt could not help out and take advantage of the soft spot of the zone and the backcourt settled for off balanced jumpers. They had their chances in this game and even had the lead for a brief moment in the second half, but Louisville then drained some outside shots to stretch the lead back to double digits and never looked back. Calhoun was left with the same questions he had from three games ago and doesn't have the answers.

Walker struggled again and it had to do with the zone. It clogged up the lanes and frustrated him. He only had a banked in three pointer in the first half and an early jumper in the second for his only two field goals. He did get to the line and did his damage there, but it wasn’t enough. If he can’t figure out the zone, then this team has no shot of making a deep run through both tournaments. Teams don’t even need to be fluent in zone to cause UConn problems. Once Walker sees the zone, he begins deferring and the offense hits the wall. He needs to remain aggressive and take balanced jumpers.

Oriakhi had an early 15-footer but soon found himself getting an earful on the bench from Calhoun due to his defense. He came out in the second half and battled hard on the boards and had several offensive rebounds that led to two dunks and did a good job at the line. He still needs to block out better and tends to get his rebounds five feet and in without blocking out, but this loss can’t be blamed on his play.

Lamb was a no show. He only took a handful of shots and didn’t contribute much of anything in this game. This has been his third non-impact game in a row. This team desperately needs his offense and he just isn't giving them it. Coombs-McDaniel was the best player for UConn. He made several lay-ups in a row, rebounded, and hit an outside shot, but he also had several bad passes, and missed an one-and-one attempt, but without his offense, this team would have been embarrassed.

Napier had a bad start, making a horrendous pass, but followed that up with a nice steal and a three pointer. He struggled defensively and was going under screens and allowing Siva to drive to the rim on numerous occasions. He also has been turning the ball over way to much and giving up easy points. Beverly had a board in the first half and made two free throws in the second half. He did a good job defensively but wasn’t much of an impact on the game.

One of the few good things to take from this game was Smith’s play. He rebounded much better, got to the line and sank some free throws, hit a jumper, and had a hustle tie-up, but he also didn’t block out on a free throw and continues to search for his offense. Okwandu had a good first half and had a couple of offensive boards and a blocked shot, but also had a couple of sloppy passes and didn’t do anything positive in the second half. Giffey played well, hitting a three-pointer and had a nice steal. Olander had a rebound, but also struggled defensively.

Burn this game tape after watching it and start again. This is still can be a good team against the zone and are a great team against man-to-man. They have the size and talented backcourt to figure out the zone and just need Walker, Lamb, and Napier to make shots on the perimeter and Coombs-McDaniels, Oriakhi, and Smith to attack in the soft parts of the interior. This is still a young nucleus and it is Walker's eminent departure that has fans feeling the urgency, but they still have some winnable games down the stretch and who knows what will shake out in the cluster filled Big East. They just need to show improvement.

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