Friday, November 22, 2013

Living On The Edge

UConn and Boston College finally got to renew their long standing rivalry and it turned out to be a pretty good basketball game even though it started out slow.  UConn forced up way too many bad shots but still found a way to build a double digit lead.  Boston College, who took 25 3-pointers, kept themselves in the ball game with good defense and some timely shooting and like many of UConn’s earlier games, they struggled in putting teams away.  Through some late outside shooting and free throws, B.C. climbed right back into the game and UConn opened the door with some missed free throws, like the Maryland game, and had to hold on to get the victory.

Right from the get-go, Napier was aggressive but took too many off balanced jumpers.  Other than a deep jumper, a nifty up and under lay-up, and a step-back jumper, Napier struggled to get his offense going.  It was a different story in the second half.  He began driving the ball more and got to the line four times, but unfortunately he went 2 for 4 late in the game.  Unlike the other games, Napier was looking for his offense more and only had 2 assists.  While it was great to see him be more aggressive, it wasn’t as effective and he needs to let the game come to him instead of crow-barring his way in.

It is really easy to overlook Boatright at times.  He has really thrived in his role this season and isn’t turning the ball over in chunks, only 1 turnover in this game, and he has done a great job of distributing the ball, 4 assists.  He also was much more aggressive in this game and took it to the rim which rewarded him with going 5 for 6 from the line.  He did struggle playing defense at times and used his hands way too much on the perimeter but he also had two major blocks in this game.  He was superb in this game.

Daniels has officially broken out of his early season slump and has strung together three solid games in a row.  He started with a quick trip to the line, hit a 3-pointer, had a floater, 2 hook shots, another 3-pointer, a driving turnaround shot, a monster dunk, and a lay-up.  On top of that, he had a team high 6 rebounds.  Not bad.  He’s really maturing into his role and is gaining his confidence back.  He has so many moves to go to that the sky is the limit to his game.

Calhoun had trouble with his jumper and only had two floaters as his only field goals, but he did get to the line . Giffey also struggled and passed up some open looks.  He did have a steal and hit a 3-pointer, but he didn’t have his usual impact.  Kromah had a rough night as well and didn’t have much of an impact other then a steal, assist, and a rebound.  It is was just one of  those rare nights when all three of these players struggled this much from the field, going 3 for 12.

Nolan had a tough start and got his second foul only three minutes into the ball game and finished with only playing 11 minutes.  He did have a nice offensive rebound and put-back, but ended the game with only 2 rebounds.  Brimah had a scary fall, smacking his head hard on the floor but was able to bounce back.  He had a nice dunk and a couple of blocks, but needs to do a much better on the boards, only snagging 1 rebound.  Olander game in for only 3 minutes and didn’t get anything going.  It was a pretty disappointing showing from the center position.  They couldn’t find ways to influence the game against a team that struggles mightily rebounding the basketball.

Facey came in and had a great offensive rebound and put-back in his four minutes.  Samuel also made a brief appearance.  These two need to keep working hard and the minutes will eventually come.

Make no mistake.  This renewal of the UConn and Boston College rivalry is to mend the fences to allow UConn into the ACC.  Despite all the politics, it turned out to be a pretty good basketball game.  UConn still has problems on the boards and the perimeter defense is still suspect and left way too many open shooters.  Despite all these deficiencies, this team is already gelling into something pretty special.  They have plenty of growth to go, but they have an experience back court, talented and young front court, and a coach that is squeezing out every ounce of effort from this team.  That’s not a bad combination to have even though they’re living on the edge of some of these games.


Matias Nino said...

Can you elaborate a bit on the politics surrounding UConn and BC and the ACC? Is UConn really still trying to get into the ACC?

David Gillett said...

To boil it down, BC left the Big East and Jim Calhoun felt slighted by that and vowed never to play them again, though their might be more to it than that.
Then when the Big East started to collapse last year, UConn tried to be the last team into the ACC, but Boston College lobbied against them and UConn was out.
While UConn has stated that they are not looking at moving to another league, that is just semantics. Any good AD, and Emanuel is one, is always looking to upgrade and the ACC is a major step up, not only in competition, but also the television rights.