Sunday, March 16, 2014

Not Enough

UConn needed to bring their A-game but with their 3-point shooting drying up, they couldn’t keep pace with the hottest team in College Basketball.  It was frustrating to watch.  UConn had too many unforced errors, especially late in the first half that fueled Louisville’s run and eventually put the game away.  Ollie tried a bunch of odd combinations like Samuels and Calhoun or Nolan and Brimah on the court together.  Nothing worked and UConn couldn’t sustain the right combination of defense and offense to stand toe-to-toe with Louisville.

It looked good early on for Napier.  He hit a floater, had a couple of steals, and a much needed 3-pointer, but then he hit a wall offensively.  His outside shot dried up and without that, he had a hard time navigating Louisville’s zone.  He once again played sub-par defense and laid off his man.  This team needed a much more aggressive Napier but credit Louisville’s defense for putting him under wraps.

Boatright struggled.  He had a poor pass, a bad shot, kept picking up his dribble for no reason, had an air-ball, and dribbled the shot clock away with no real purpose.  That was just the first half.  He continued his sub-par play into the second half with only a 3-pointer as his only offense.  This team needs more from him then this.

Daniels was simply fantastic and was the only bright spot on what was ultimately a dismal game.  He had a block, a lay-up, a 3-pointer, three jumpers, a put-back, and a massive dunk.  This is the type of game that UConn needed from him throughout the year.  Hopefully this run he has been on continues into the NCAA tournament, because when he is making plays in the post it makes the backcourt's life much easier.

Giffey’s hot streak finally came to an end and he didn’t even record a 3-pointer.  He did do a good job of attacking the glass and had two lay-ups and a put-back, but they needed a repeat performance from him to make this a game and they couldn’t get it.  Kromah flat out struggled.  He had two bad passes, lost his dribble, slipped on the court, and had two quick fouls.  Samuel once again had a hard time with his dribble and didn’t play much.  Calhoun got a chunk of playing time in this game and had a lucky pass to Brimah after loosing the ball, had a bad pass, a travel, and a turnover.  He continues to miss wide open shots.  This unit was a big fat no show.

Brimah had a fantastic game.  He had two hook shots, three dunks, a put-back, a lay-up, a nifty pass, and hustled to the floor to save the ball.  It is in these games that show his ultimate potential.  Nolan was on the opposite end of that spectrum in this game.  He struggled to rebound, to get shots, and defend.  He did get one of his patented charges, but he couldn’t provide some defensive intensity.

UConn needs to keep their heads up.  Sure they lost this game and it wasn’t even close, but they need to see the big picture.  They came into the tournament playing some of their worst play of the year and they beat Memphis in Memphis, a tough nosed Cincinnati team for the season series, and came up short against Louisville, who should be a one seed in the NCAA tournament.  While this loss hurts, it doesn’t hurt their overall seeding and this run through the tournament should actually bolster them.  They’ll need to play much better heading forward but when their jumpers are falling, this team can hang with any in the league.

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