Monday, March 12, 2012

Breaking Down UConn versus Iowa State

Sure the match-up against Kentucky looks interesting, but UConn can't sleep on Iowa State because this team plays a style of game that has caused UConn problems all year, the 3-point barrage. They can light it up from deep as a team, hitting .380 from beyond the arc and they score 73.2 points per game. If the game gets into the upper sixties, it won't bode well for the Huskies. Not only do they rely heavily on the three point shot, but they have a fantastic perimeter defense, which is tops in the Big 12 conference. Teams are hitting just .298 from deep. UConn must not get three happy and needs to focus on their strength, the big bodies inside. Iowa State is prone to turning the ball over and has a -.66 turnover margin. Napier and Boatright need to apply pressure and create havoc without fouling. The game will be won on two fronts, stopping the three point threat from the perimeter and the battle on the boards, especially offensively. Iowa State has the Big 12's best defensive rebounding team. They make team's one and done. Oriakhi, Drummond, Smith, and Olander need to attack the glass for those second chance opportunities.

For UConn to win they must stop Royce White, a 6-8, 270 pound forward/center. He does everything for this team. He leads them in points, 13.1, in boards, 9.2, hits .521 field goal percentage, and leads the team in assists a game at 5.1. He is an inside player and is not a perimeter threat so Oriakhi, Drummond, and Olander need to give him space on the perimeter and make sure he doesn't get position in his comfort spots. Melvin Ejim backs him up. He's a 6-6 and 220 pound forward who averages 6.6 boards per game. They play small ball, but that has given UConn trouble. They need to win the battle on the boards and not let a scrappy and smaller team win those 50-50 balls.

Napier, Lamb, and Boatright will have their hands full of Iowa State's potent and experienced gaurds, especially Scott Christopherson, a red shirt Senior. He's knocked down 63 3-pointers, scores 12.5 points per game, is a lock at the free throw line at .895 a game, and hits an unreal .450 from deep. It is a priority that whoever is on him does not leave him to help out, because if they let a great shooter like this get going, it will be a long night. They have a plethora of shooters to complement Christopherson from Tyrus McGee, hitting 50 of 122 from deep, or Chris Allen, who hit 72 of 188, and the X-factor of the game Chris Babb who plays the most minutes on the team and hit 64 of 191. This backcourt could get going on a single shot and sink UConn. They must protect the perimeter at all cost and give up the two instead of over helping and leaving these shooters open.

It will be the battle of two different styles. UConn must focus every possession on attacking the rim, not settle for deep jumpers and Iowa State wants to play an inside-outside game where White gets the double team and kicks out to open jumpers. Drummond and Oriakhi must stay out of foul trouble and be able to handle White, because a double team will only lead to trouble. On the other hand UConn has a good three guard line-up and can Iowa State be able to stop Oriakhi and Drummond inside on the glass? It all comes down to jumpers with these two teams. Lamb, Napier, and Boatright versus White, Christopherson, Allen, Babb, and McGee. Let the best team win.

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