Monday, March 25, 2013


UConn didn’t have much of a March to play in, just three games.  The first game was against Cincinnati.  UConn was shorthanded with Napier dealing with an injury.  They were dominated throughout the game, but made a heroic comeback only to fall short because of some costly turnovers late in the ballgame.  The second game was against USF.  UConn put forth a lackadaisical effort as they struggled without Napier and Giffey.  The defense looked soft and the offense sputtered in the halfcourt sets.  It was their worst game of the season effort wise and was not indicative of what this team has displayed all year long.  They did rebound with another nail-biter against Providence.  Napier’s return sparked the offense and the defense that had hit a low mark against USF sprang back to life.  They ended the season on a positive note and despite the abrupt end to their season, they earned the respect of just about everyone in the now defunct Big East as a team motivated by each other and not for the self which is refreshing in this one-and-done era of college basketball.

Napier had only one game to shine in during March but he made it count against a Providence team playing their best basketball of the year and on the bubble of making the NCAA tournament.  Napier didn’t show any signs of rust, knocking down jumpers, getting to the rim, and making plays in overtime.  He ended the season on a high note and solidified himself as a true leader which many had doubted that he could achieve heading into this year.  He will more than likely return for his senior year and will be a major factor for conference player of the year and an All-American.

Boatright had a tough month and struggled with the offense flowing through him.  His jumpers that had been consistent throughout the middle part of the season weren’t dropping for him.  The major issue was his turnovers.  They came in bunches and almost always led to points at the other end.  Once Napier came back, Boatright’s offense got back on track, hitting several jumpers.  It was good for him to end the season with a good game.  He'll need to work on using one or two dribbles to open up his shot and running off screens to take jumpers.

Calhoun struggled throughout March with a wrist injury.  It effected his jumpers that were off the rim and his confidence wasn't there like in previous months.  He has shown the ability to be a big time scorer but needs to develop a mid-ranged game.  Teams will force him off the perimeter and wall off the driving lanes, so a fifteen to twenty footer would go well in his arsenal.

Daniels emerged as an elite player in the last three games of the year and the sky is the limit for where he wants to take his game because he has all the tools.  He can hit the 3-pointer, attack the baseline or hit a baby hook, he can also attack off the dribble, and is a good shot blocker.  Not bad.  His game resembles Jeff Green’s but he needs a bit more bulk to develop a post game.  If his progression continues at this pace, he should be a lottery pick next season.  It is all in how he treats this off-season.

Olander’s season was over one game sooner then expected, breaking his foot.  He just hasn’t been right all year.  The major issue for Olander is rebounding.  He has had trouble all year clearing space and attacking the glass.  He is going to feel the pressure from some of these new recruits coming in for playing time especially after this incident in Florida.  Fans are tired of all this nonsense off the court and he just might find himself off the team.

Nolan kept up with his development throughout March.  He rebounded well in each game and found ways to score around the rim.  He quickly surpassed Olander on the depth chart and should be battling for a starting spot next year.  The off-season will be very important for him and he'll need to bulk up and develop a 15-footer.

Giffey only played in the Cincinnati game because of a hand injury.  He’s been one of the few consistent pieces off the bench that Ollie can trust in and should have a great season next year.  Ollie leaned heavily on Evans with Napier out for two games in March and he played well.  He gave his usual hustle plays, lay-ups, and defense.  Tolksdorf, Allen, and Lenehan all played sparingly with little impact.

It was the shortest March in recent UConn history with no tournaments to play in, but they ended the season on a high note, beating a Providence team that needed a win for a chance at the Big Dance.  This team has a lot going for it heading into next year.  Napier and Boatright will more than likely return, their stock would rise drastically with another season, and they should get some influx of talent on the front line.  The conference is still up in the air, but the Huskies should be a major factor in winning it next year.  With the dark days behind them, the future looks bright for this team no matter what the landscape looks like.

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