Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Outclassed


It was a tale of two halves.  UConn did all the right things in the first half.  They took care of the basketball, found points in transition, moved the basketball that found high percentage shots, and played solid defense which earned them a lead heading into halftime.  Then they came out in the second half and after an early Olander lay-up, UConn began turning the ball over and their pick and roll  and transition defense was getting carved up for easy shots.  In the blink of an eye that three possession lead evaporated and UConn’s once prolific offense shriveled up.  Sure fingers can be pointed to the rebounding margin and turnovers, but this game was lost on poor offensive possessions, UConn took 22 three pointers which is way too many, and horrible defense, giving up twelve dunks and lay-ups in the second half alone.  Louisville only had five more shot attempts at the basket than UConn, they had only had 3 more offensive rebounds, and they had 3 less turnovers.  This was more than a winnable game for UConn, but they failed to finish out the game plan that they played to perfection in the first half which is a shame.

Napier’s night started out great with a lay-up, 3-pointer, jumper, and a trip to the line.  He was playing aggressive and had his way with Peyton Siva on the bench in foul trouble, but he was a totally different player in the second half and was out played by Siva.  He had an early turnover that led to a dunk on the other end, missed a lay-up on a steal, and then missed four 3-pointers in a row from there.  He settled for jumper after jumper instead of attacking the basket and putting pressure on the defense or getting to the line.  Credit needs to go to Louisville's defense, but Napier settled far too much in this game and it cost them dearly.

Boatright struggled all night to find his offense.  He didn’t get his first points until ten minutes into the ballgame and he had problems all game in taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over 5 times. That's putting fuel to a fire with Louisville.  Like Napier, he settled for jumpers that just weren’t falling and he failed to get to the line once, which should never happen with his dribbling skills and his speed.  He should be focused on attacking the defense each and every time he has the ball. Instead he took 7 of his 10 shots from deep.  That is a recipe for disaster.

Omar Calhoun was the only bright spot of an overall ugly showing by the backcourt.  His jumper was dead on, hitting 3 of 4 from deep and 5 of 5 from the line.  His 6 turnovers marred his otherwise great night.  That is way too many turnovers and ignited Louisville’s second half run.  UConn found its third scorer but squandered it with poor performances by Boatright and Napier. Evans played seven minutes and struggled to get the ball through the basket, missing his free throws and his only shot.

Daniels had an otherwise good game despite the score.  He had couple of blocks, steals, assists, rebounded well, and scored in a variety of ways. He's really turning into an all around player and becoming reliable.  When he adds a bit more bulk, he should be a double-double machine.  Giffey had two lay-ups, 5 rebounds, but struggled to defend without fouling.  His improvement on the glass has made a major difference in the last four to five games.

Olander couldn’t find the magic that he had in his previous two games.  He reverted back to the Olander of old, making only one field goal and only mustering a measly one rebound. That isn’t going to cut it in a huge home game against an elite team like Louisville, especially considering that he played 30 minutes.  Wolf only had 10 minutes but had 2 rebounds,  1 block, and 1 assist, far outplaying Olander.  The lack of any front court presence allowed Louisville to have a 44 points in the paint and UConn's big men had problems hedging on the pick and roll again, leading to easy looks around the basket.

There is no good way to paint this picture.  It was ugly.  This team doesn’t have the offensive balance to counteract a poor outing by both Boatright and Napier.  They also had no answer to the pick and roll offense which killed them against Marquette, but there is no shame in this loss.  They were outclassed by an elite team.  They need to dust themselves off, learn from this loss, and know that they aren’t that far off despite being short handed.  If they play aggressive, defend the paint better, and not turn the ball over, then they can play with anyone.  Unfortunately they did none of those things in the second half of this game.

2 comments:

Mr. AllDayE'ryDay said...

Napier needs to sure up that jumpshot or risk becoming the next Maalik Wayns.

David Gillett said...

Thanks for reading. He needs to play a more versatile game. When he is mixing up his driving and jump shot, he plays at a higher level, but when he becomes three happy, it usually spells disaster.