Tuesday, February 7, 2012
It was an utter collapse. Sure Louisville was knocking down threes, but to let all those easy baskets off simple defensive rebounds is unacceptable. It was a lack of effort and that isn’t UConn basketball. The offense is the same ole dribbling around and taking low percentage shots. They needed to do two things, win the rebounding battle and not turn the ball over and they were slaughtered on both, giving up 14 offensive boards and turning the ball over 15 times for a grand total of 29 extra looks at the basket, a sure recipe for a butt whipping. The defense, which was the only redeeming quality throughout UConn’s horrible stretch, was atrocious. They over helped, leaving wide open shooters on the perimeter and Louisville, not a good three point shooting team, knocked down jumper after jumper, but it was the transition defense that was severely lacking, creating what should have been a ten point lead into a thirty point blowout.
Lamb needed to be aggressive but after an offensive foul in the first half, he reverted back to jacking up three pointers, not taking a single free throw all game. Five of his nine field goals were from deep and that is unacceptable. He needs to have at least four mid-ranged shots either off double screens or off pump fakes, he needs to take one or more floaters, about four or less three point attempts, and three drives to the basket. That is about thirteen to fourteen attempts a game. Instead he sees one three pointer go in and he starts settling.
Napier needs to stop taking three pointers. It isn’t working and it is hurting the team. Instead he needs to drive to the basket and dish out to the wings more, he needs to use screens without the basketball to take mid ranged shots, and he needs to stop dribbling the ball so much, getting caught up in the air, or making poor passes in traffic. He is playing the game too fast. Slow down, make the simple pass, and trust in the offensive set. It is all mental right now for him and his lack of confidence and poor body language is rubbing off on the team.
Boatright looked good early on, but fell off when he forced the issue too much. He still had more points then Lamb and Napier combined, had more rebounds then Drummond, and doubled the assists then everyone on the team combined. He needed help and everyone folded up with ten minutes to go in the game. He needs to be the primary ball handler now while this team is in crisis mode.
Drummond continues to play outside himself. He needs to play with his back to the basket and use a quick hook shot or turn and face the rim then take his man off the dribble, but until he improves his free throw shooting, he should never shoot a 15-footer anymore. He also wasn’t running hard in transition or going up strong for boards, instead waiting for the ball. Go after the ball. It was a shame that a good showing by Oriakhi was wasted on this embarrassing game. He again came a few rebounds away from a double-double. But with all that, he still is rebounding weakly, letting others get inside position or rip the ball away from him. He also needs to do more in that open space in the zone, run more, and attack the glass offensively for second chance points. Olander had a bad outing and was destroyed rebounding, letting Louisville have easy baskets on offensive rebounds. He also played poor defense.
Smith did a good job. He knocked down a few shots, rebounded well, and got to the line, but he was a major culprit in not running back on defense. No more three point attempts for Daniels. He needs to pump fake and take the mid-ranged shot. He had some poor defensive and rebounding plays. Like Smith, the wings are responsible for getting back and they didn’t. Giffey played late in the game and didn’t do much.
Every time you think things can’t get worse they do. Every flaw this team had was on display, out rebounded, destroyed from deep, sloppy turnovers, poor half court offense, lack of leadership, lazy transition defense, silly passes and poor shooting. And now they face Syracuse. Not good, but this team is going to have to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and show some pride. They might not be heading to the NCAA tournament but this team has too much pride and work ethic then what is being shown on the court right now. Time to decide how this team is going to be defined, either as one that collapsed or persevered, but the end of this story is up to them.