Monday, March 3, 2014

February

UConn was a bit bipolar in the month of February.  They opened the month with a tough loss to Cincinnati where they faded down the stretch and lost by five points.  They then went on a four game winning streak where they played their best basketball of the season and beat UCF, USF, Memphis, and Temple.  After that they played a rematch against SMU and for whatever reason the Mustangs had UConn’s number this season.  UConn had no answer defensively for them and SMU’s stout defense held them in check.  They finished up the month with a the rematch against USF but unlike the 40 point blowout that UConn thumped them with, the Bulls made it a game.  UConn used a second half spurt to finally pull away and secure the victory.

Napier struggled versus Cincinnati, Temple, SMU, and USF.  He had a hard time finding his range in these games and forced a lot of shots.  His best game of the month came against Memphis where he was aggressive, taking 21 shots, and hitting five 3-pointers.  He has been playing much better defense and has been getting more steals that helped fuel their transition game.  His offense hit a snag down the stretch of this month and he needs to find the range once again.

Boatright has been a warrior during February.  He entered the month with a sore shoulder and it might have effected his jumper because it has been a bit inconsistent during this month.  He continues to have problems scoring on the break and tends to rush things or slow down to allow his defender to make up the space.  He has done a much better job of getting to the line this month which has allowed him to sustain offense despite his inconsistent jumper.  He needs to do a much better job of facilitating the offense when Napier is on the bench.

Daniels didn’t play against Cincinnati due to back spasms.  He came back and played two great games versus UCF and USF but struggled after that.  His post game is awkward and needs to find a go to move. Instead he brings the ball into his defender and releases it with his body not square to the basket.  His disappearance in the last four games have exacerbated UConn’s offensive rut they have been in.  This team desperately needs him to find his game and soon.

Kromah had a great game against Cincinnati, UCF, and USF but then hit a snag for the rest of the month.  He wasn’t getting those lay-ups or jumpers to fall for him and found himself in and out of the lineup in the second half.  He still means so much to this team and is a player that can easily drop 15 in the right circumstance.

Giffey had a rough start to the month but turned it around in the final couple of games.  He developed a pump fake and drove to the basket more which allowed him to get to the line.  His jumper has been a bit erratic during the month but he still manages to hit one or two 3-pointers a game.  His defense is a bit under-rated and has been doing a much better job on the boards.

Calhoun had to deal with a concussion that held him out of a couple of games.  When he did get back he still had a hard time of hitting his jumpers.  It is amazing that nothing is dropping for him.  If there is anyone who needs a jumper to fall, it is Calhoun.  Hopefully he can have an impact performance before the end of the year so that he can have something to build on for next season.

Samuel got some playing time with Calhoun’s absence with a concussion and a blowout win versus USF.  He showed Ollie something.  He progressively got more minutes and made a few key plays that helped jump start UConn’s offense against the Bulls in the rematch game.  He’s done enough in this month to give Ollie confidence to put the freshman in critical game situations.

Brimah played hard but found himself with limited minutes.  His best games were against USF and Temple where he was able to score on put-backs and dunks.  Ollie usually pulls him if he isn’t rebounding the basketball and he had a hard time doing so in February.  There is still plenty of good things for UConn to be happy with heading not only into March but into next season.

Nolan had a good game versus UCF but had a hard time defending without fouling.  He does rotate well and has taken a majority of UConn’s charge calls this season.  His rebounding is a bit inconsistent which leads to the fluctuation in his minutes.  It is his lack of any post game that is disconcerting and he has yet to develop any go to moves in the paint.

Olander continues to be the third man in the frontcourt rotation.  His size is his downfall and he gets pushed around in the paint.  He did have a good game against Memphis, but his rebounding numbers are atrocious.  He is relegated to a sprinkling on minutes in the middle of both halves.

Facey gets a handful of minutes a game and does make an impact when in there.  His best game was against USF where he played his most minutes in many a month.  UConn fans have to be excited with his play so far this year and he looks to be an up and coming big man for them.

While UConn played their best basketball of the year during this month, they began to play some of the worst offense all year.  It really is amazing how it could all being going so smoothly and then disappear at the drop of a dime.  They’ll need it back as soon as possible because March is the time of year when you need to be peeking and hopefully they didn’t bloom to early.

2 comments:

Matias Nino said...

I think the true test for this team will be the AAC tourney. Many parallels can be drawn to the 2011 Huskies that went undefeated in tournament games. You could probably do a whole article on it. This team seems to have that same mental toughness that can allow them to 'out-survive' most opponents. Only way to prove it is to see the on them on the ropes in a tournament game. Part of me secretly wishes they didn't get a bye in the AAC tourney. ;)

David Gillett said...

I agree but that team found lightning in a bottle that will probably never happen again. It is all about match-ups in these Tournaments-and a bit of luck. They'll need some magic, their jumpers to start falling, and their front court to start rebounding. That'll be the formula for a long run in these tourneys.