Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rock Bottom

Just when you think that things can’t get any worse, UConn found a way. They couldn’t buy a basket with Lamb, Napier, and Boatright shooting 4 for 31. Every jumper bounced out or didn’t hit iron but they continued to jack up horrible shots that weren’t in any sort of rhythm or fluid half court offense. Things looked good early with the new line-up with nice inside passes that had UConn out to a fast start, but then came their selfish and sloppy play where they jacked up horrible 3-pointers, off balance jumpers, forced offensive fouls, and turned the ball over with lazy passes. Sure there will be nights where they aren't going to shoot the ball well, but that means you play your game differently. You take the ball to the basket, see the ball go in a couple of times, or you attack the glass for second chance opportunities, but instead they diddled around the perimeter until ten in the shot clock and hoisted bad threes. That's not going to get it done.

It was obvious that Lamb had a horrible game, but he isn’t getting the ball in any rhythm and when he did, he knocked down those shots. He isn’t the type of player where he can take his opponent off the dribble. Instead he needs the ball in his hands where he can go right into his shot. He also isn’t getting open on screens through this horrible losing streak which is his fault. He needs to rub his man off the screens and cut harder. He also took way too many 3-pointers, 11, especially when it was obvious he wasn’t knocking them down. He needs utilize his pump fake and create contact or take a step in for a mid-ranged shot. His major problem is that he settles for the easy play.

Can it get any worse for Napier? He once again didn’t have a field goal and this team just can’t compete without his offensive help. It’s frustrating to see him jack up horrible 3-pointers and not get any dribble penetration. His poor play has now moved over into his defense where he had multiple lapses that led to easy Georgetown points. Boatright started out fantastic having an early steal and back-to-back-to-back nice dishes that gave UConn an early lead, but as soon as he took a seat with two fouls he couldn’t get his luster back. Even though he struggled, he deserves to start again because of his ability to increase the tempo.

Drummond was again the sole bright spot. He finished strong around the basket and rebounded the ball with strength. He still struggles with his back to the basket and hasn’t developed a go-to-move and settles for fall away jumpers, but with no other help around him, he has been the anchor inside. Oriakhi is playing so bad that he is losing valuable playing time to the wing position. He had a rebound stolen from him, a moving screen, and an offensive foul. It will be interesting to see how his minutes go. Enosch Wolf finally got into the game where he had a foul before Georgetown inbounded the ball and was immediately back on the bench. Talk about a short leash.

Olander had a nice lay-up, a couple of nice passes, and a jumper, but he is still a shell of what he was earlier this season. His mid-ranged game is sorely missed. Daniels continues to search for his jumper but he began taking the ball to the basket and attack the glass and was rewarded with a lay-up and a put-back. It was his best outing in a long time. Giffey had an offensive rebound but missed an open three. Smith played better. He had an early jumper and had five rebounds.

The disaster continues and it doesn’t look like it is going to be fixed any time soon. This team hasn’t been able to get any semblance of offense all season, has had problems with leads against inferior teams, had long offensive droughts, and can’t get multiple stops to create runs. It adds up to mediocrity and it is a shame because they have the talent, the coaching, and the opportunity to change this around, especially in a league that is beating each other up, but there has been nothing in the past month that gives anyone the feeling that this can be fixed. They've hit rock bottom and now it is time to see what the true character of this team is.

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