Sunday, January 8, 2012

Flat Tires

There is nothing new here. It’s the same issue in each and every game, turnovers. They can’t turn the ball over the way they have and expect to win ballgames. It wasn’t like they weren't making shots or Rutgers was shooting lights out, but when you come up empty on multiple trips and allow teams more than 20 more looks at the basket then you, then you need to play a flawless game and UConn was far from that. The perimeter defense played much better, though Rutgers missed some wide open jumpers, but the offense came up empty in the second half and UConn floundered to find anyone other than Napier to score points. Losing back-to-back ballgames against two up and coming, but not top echelon teams shows that this team just isn't ready, hasn't found chemistry, and hasn't matured.

This was by far Lamb’s worst game of the season and possibly of his career. He started out strong, having a nice assist, a lay-up, and a slam but had little to show after that. He battled foul trouble throughout the game and finally fouled out when he went over the back on a rebound. His absence showed how much this team is reliant on him to produce each and every game and that the freshmen aren't ready to step up yet.

Without Lamb’s offense, Napier had to pick up the slack. While he was the only person to consistently get any offense going, he plays at his best when he isn’t forcing things, but this game dictated him to do so. He hit a few 3-pointers and was fouled numerous times driving to the basket, but he just didn’t have enough offense around him to pull off the victory.

It was another quick start for Oriakhi, getting two put backs early on, but found himself in foul trouble early and often. He did have a lay-up and got to the line in the second half, but this team needed his leadership with Lamb struggling and he didn't step up. Drummond had two slams early before he decided to become a turnover machine, tossing numerous poor passes out of bounds. It was another second half in which he struggled to find ways to score. The frontcourt failed to make an impact in the second half and allowed a Rutgers team to keep up with them on the boards, which should have never happened.

This was the type of game where Boatright was supposed to step up and show his scoring prowess, but he failed to appear. He had a sweet steal, lay-up & 1, but other than making 2 of 3 at the line, he was a no show. He doesn’t look comfortable out there and is hesistant in taking shots and isn’t driving to the rim. UConn needed him to become aggressive and he looked timid out there.

Giffey got the start and immediately traveled with the ball, had then had a steal, hustled on defense, then missed two 3-pointers before getting yanked. Daniels had a tip in and made some free throws. Like Boatright, he isn’t comfortable in where and when to take his shots. What happened to Roscoe Smith? Something must of occurred in practice to have him not play a full minute, because he played at least a couple with a wrist injury. Olander had a lay-up and a jumper but didn’t have the impact that he should of had in this foul riddled game. He should’ve been at the line a few times this game and wasn’t.

The wheels have come off. It’s been three months and this team hasn’t improved on the turnovers. They make poor decisions on passes, get stripped going to the lane, or aren’t in the right position. This is a young team and there are a lot of parts getting their first taste of Big East road life, but this needs to change and soon. They’ll drop in the polls, but this isn’t the BCS, this sport allows you to get better throughout the course of the season. They need to simplify things and get back to basics. Besides Syracuse, the Big East is wide open and will be a slug fest all year. They can change these flat tires, get off the New Jersey Turnpike, and hopefully turn this thing around.

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