A few observations about the WVU game | The Boneyard

A few observations about the WVU game

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I'll try not to write War & Piece, so here we go:

1. This team discovered how hard they are capable of playing. Like most of you, I've been scratching my head lately, wondering is this team really as soft as they look, getting out-hustled and physically beaten up by teams like SHU and RU. I hope JC can point to the last 8 minutes of last night's game and tell these players, "I saw what you were capable of doing last night and I expect you to play that way all the time from this point on out." I hope that's what happens. I guess we'll find out if they have it within them to bring it for close to 40 minutes, like we saw during last season's 11 game run.

2. Welcome back Alex Oriakhi. Now please stick around and play the rest of this season like you did last night.

3. Lamb can be that go-to-scorer. JL hit a bunch of really tough winning time shots last night. The game is a bit of a blur now but, but arguably the biggest shot of the game was the traffic-runner in the paint (I think that's what the shot was) he hit at the 2:36 mark that put UConn up for good.

4. AD is capable of dominating a game. In one of the "AD is over-hyped" threads, I mentioned that AD is going to have some dominating performances and will have some games where he struggles. That's how most freshman play, even the most talented ones, especially the bigs. If he can give us a mixed-bag of solid to great performances leading up the post-season and then learn to string a bunch of dominating ones once we reach the BET and NCAAs, we'll get to witness something special.

5. We witnessed this team's best 8 minutes of the season. Unfortunately we also witnessed 32 minutes of what we've been seeing the past few games. With that said, I'm not sure what to expect from this team. If they can play like they did during those 8 minutes most of the time, this team will be in -4 & NC conversation again. If we see more of what we saw during the first 32...well you can finish the rest however you wish. What encourages me is I've seen JC take less talented teams that struggled to bring it during a good portion of the season and coach them into champions. I'm hopeful we will witness this yet again.
 

huskyharry

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totally agree. There was a lot to like, particularly the last 8 minutes when the team dug down deep and really showed that they wanted to win.
it was great to see AO have a stronger performance.
J. Lamb in stretches looks unstoppable. Napier can make some outstanding passes. Andre looks like a man among boys sometimes.
NG consistently place solid defense. Even if his opponent does beat him for a 3 point shot, at least his hand was in their face.
There was much to be discouraged about as well. Less than 2 minutes into the game, SN, while casually dribbling a hole into the hardwood, is easily stripped and the opposing point guard heads in the other direction, while SN casually jogs after him. AD sprints down the court challenges that point guard at the rim and the shot is missed. However,SN is not paying attention and doesn't box out Kilicla, so he gets an easy put back. You could blame the lack on hustle on fatigue from playing too many minutes...but not right at the start of the game!
All the guards were casual with the ball, leading to turnovers.
The good news is, these are all correctable mistakes and hopefully they will decrease in frequency as the season goes on. This team has a lot of talent and has the potential to be very good by March. We just need to see the potential become reality, and that can only happen through hard work
 
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Here our my observations from another thread:

At times during that game, UConn looked exactly as I envisioned them looking before the season started. The execution on offense was probably the best it's been all season, spare maybe the FSU game. I'd have to go back and watch the tape, but it seems like the offense was flowing much, much better, and that there was a concerted emphasis to get Oriakhi and Drummond the ball where they are comfortable. It clearly paid off, as Drummond had his best game to date, going for 20 and 11 on 9/11 from the field. I was shocked at how comfortable he looked with that baseline jumper, one that I really wish Roscoe would develop. Anyway, I was screaming for Alex and Andre to get more touches, and the guards really did a great job getting the ball inside.

I couldn't quite tell you exactly what they were running, but I noticed a lot of off ball screens for Lamb, with the difference this time being the big man rolling to the basket off of those screens, which kept the defenses honest. The big men were the most active I've seen them all year, setting double screens at the top of the key, posting hard down low, and screening for each other to free themselves up. The turnovers is what kept this team from putting up 75+ points, because otherwise, 55% is all you could ask for against a stout defense like WVU. 13 is a little high, but much better than the last two games, and a much better job in the second half especially.

Defensively, they played probably their best ball all season, holding WVU to 32% from the field. It would have been under 30% if they had managed to keep WVU off the offensive boards. Obviously this team still needs some work boxing out, because we got killed on the offensive glass 17 to 5. As I said last game, the key to defensive sucess for this team will be forcing teams to beat you at the rim. Part of the defensive success tonight may have been because WVU relies more on their inside game than the other teams we've faced, but also because the guards did a much better job fighting through screens, and closing out. WVU only shot 6 for 24 fom behind the arch, a huge improvement. The nine blocks also speaks to the way we forced WVU to drive into the strength of our defense. If we had rebounded better, it would have been a truly classic UConn defensive performance.

Some player notes:

Shabazz: How about that? Who would have thought UConn would win a game in which Shabazz doesn't score? More than anything, that speaks to how well the big men played. I received some heat in another thread for saying Shabazz needs to learn how to run a team, and this is exactly how you do it. He played in control, swung the ball, didn't over penetrate, and most of all, involved the big men, something I've been screaming at him to do all year. Obviously we need him to score some points to reach our potential, but I'd much rather have a 10 point, 8 assist, 2 turnover game than a 22 point, 4 assist, 6 turnover game.

Lamb: This was a very encouraging game for Lamb. One of the big questions people had about him coming into the season (and still do) is whether he could be "the guy". Tonight, he certainly was. He kept the turnovers down, created his own shot, and looked for his shot in the big moment. Vintage Lamb performance tonight, plus, his defense was much better I thought.

Boat: Boatright had a solid game tonight IMO. He gave us energy off the bench, added some much needed ball pressure, and hit some big shots. 7 points, 4 boards, and 4 assists is about as good as we can expect from the kid off the bench.

AO: AO had probably his best game since UCF. His box won't overwhelm you (8 points, 3 boards, 3 blocks, 4/5 shooting) but his energy was probably the best it's been all year. He did a hell of a job battling the big mountain man inside, and KJ when he had a chance with him. If AO plays with that type of energy he will play his 30 minutes a game.

AD: What more can you say about the kid? His potential is unlimited. Tonight he played as if he was the best big man in the country. Not only was his turn around jumper unstopable, but he played excellent defense on Jones, and really fought hard on the boards, limiting Jones (the leading rebounder in the country) to five rebounds. His line of 20 points, 11 boards, 3 blocks, and 2 steals on 9/11 from the field doesn't even tell the whole story. He throughly outplayed one of the best players in the country in Kevin Jones. I'm going to guess NBA scouts loved what they saw out of him tonight. It has to be either him or Davis a #1 pick IMO.

Overall, this is the perfect recipe for success. The big men imposed their will on another front court (isn't it interesting that our frontcourt plays their best against the best frountcourt they've played so far? they rise to the level of their competition, it seems), Lamb was unstopable, Shabazz dropped dimes all over the gym, and the defense was stellar. Minus some careless mistakes and a lack of boxing out, this was a hell of a win, and the most fun I've had all year.

So you and I are basically in agreement on a lot of things, my post is just longer:)
 
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We need 3 things from here on out:

1. Bazz Swagger. he needs to recapture it, aggressively attack the D, and score the ball.
2. SF fix. Don't care who, but we need 10 pts/6 rebs/good D every game out of this trio.
3. Better perimeter D. Now tha 'Dre is becoming an enforcer, we need to play more sound on the outside, less gambling
 

caw

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Not that I disagree, but I think the raw Offensive Rebounding disparity is largely influenced by UConn's shooting percentage versus WVU's. In fact, not including FT misses/rebounds and team rebounds(out of bounds, etc.), WVU missed 44 shots and got 16 rebounds. UConn missed 21 shots and got 5 rebounds. WVU obviously did a better job but the difference though isn't a huge amount considering the number of misses both teams had. Further, typically it's easier to get an offensive rebound off a missed 3 PT attempt and I don't have the numbers but WVU missed 18 while UConn missed only 7.
 
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Not that I disagree, but I think the raw Offensive Rebounding disparity is largely influenced by UConn's shooting percentage versus WVU's. In fact, not including FT misses/rebounds and team rebounds(out of bounds, etc.), WVU missed 44 shots and got 16 rebounds. UConn missed 21 shots and got 5 rebounds. WVU obviously did a better job but the difference though isn't a huge amount considering the number of misses both teams had. Further, typically it's easier to get an offensive rebound off a missed 3 PT attempt and I don't have the numbers but WVU missed 18 while UConn missed only 7.
Sometimes perception is far from reality, but using the old "eye test" scientific approach :) it just seems we're giving up some bad offensive rebounds and second changes through out the season and even last night. Now granted Jones is considered one of the best offensive rebounders in the BE. I watched him a few times closely and he's really good at quickly sealing off his man and setting up camp at one side of the basket either right before or after the shot goes up. With that said, there is still too much standing around from AD and AO, where they let their opposing players shoot the gap and grab some offensive rebounds. Their boxing out discipline still s*cks IMO. I'd like to see JC really get into them when they don't box out. It's a habit that can go a long way toward winning and losing games and I tend to like winning a lot more than losing.
 
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I'll try not to write War & Piece, so here we go:

1. This team discovered how hard they are capable of playing. Like most of you, I've been scratching my head lately, wondering is this team really as soft as they look, getting out-hustled and physically beaten up by teams like SHU and RU. I hope JC can point to the last 8 minutes of last night's game and tell these players, "I saw what you were capable of doing last night and I expect you to play that way all the time from this point on out." I hope that's what happens. I guess we'll find out if they have it within them to bring it for close to 40 minutes, like we saw during last season's 11 game run.

2. Welcome back Alex Oriakhi. Now please stick around and play the rest of this season like you did last night.

3. Lamb can be that go-to-scorer. JL hit a bunch of really tough winning time shots last night. The game is a bit of a blur now but, but arguably the biggest shot of the game was the traffic-runner in the paint (I think that's what the shot was) he hit at the 2:36 mark that put UConn up for good.

4. AD is capable of dominating a game. In one of the "AD is over-hyped" threads, I mentioned that AD is going to have some dominating performances and will have some games where he struggles. That's how most freshman play, even the most talented ones, especially the bigs. If he can give us a mixed-bag of solid to great performances leading up the post-season and then learn to string a bunch of dominating ones once we reach the BET and NCAAs, we'll get to witness something special.

5. We witnessed this team's best 8 minutes of the season. Unfortunately we also witnessed 32 minutes of what we've been seeing the past few games. With that said, I'm not sure what to expect from this team. If they can play like they did during those 8 minutes most of the time, this team will be in -4 & NC conversation again. If we see more of what we saw during the first 32...well you can finish the rest however you wish. What encourages me is I've seen JC take less talented teams that struggled to bring it during a good portion of the season and coach them into champions. I'm hopeful we will witness this yet again.

One thing that's becoming clear is that our best lineup is Boat, Bazz, Lamb, AD and Alex. I can understanding not starting Ryan because he's a frosh but I'd like to see that lineup a majority of the time.
 
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I'll try not to write War & Piece, so here we go:
4. AD is capable of dominating a game. In one of the "AD is over-hyped" threads, I mentioned that AD is going to have some dominating performances and will have some games where he struggles. That's how most freshman play, even the most talented ones, especially the bigs. If he can give us a mixed-bag of solid to great performances leading up the post-season and then learn to string a bunch of dominating ones once we reach the BET and NCAAs, we'll get to witness something special.
quote]

This I thought was the most important point you made. Coming into the year I expected Drummond to have some stretches where his physical ability just took over, and then other stretches where he disappeared as he learned to figure out the game. Clearly the kid is something special when he is agressive and confident like he was on Monday. One thing about progress, is that it isn't always linear. You may see him put up 6 and 4 next game, but that's all part of the learning curve as defenses learn to adjust to you. All talented players can put together strings of greatness, but what separates the good from the great is the ability to dominate consistently. You hit it right on when you said if he can string together some dominant games by March, he and this team will be something special.
 

hungry husky

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We need 3 things from here on out:

1. Bazz Swagger. he needs to recapture it, aggressively attack the D, and score the ball.
2. SF fix. Don't care who, but we need 10 pts/6 rebs/good D every game out of this trio.
3. Better perimeter D. Now tha 'Dre is becoming an enforcer, we need to play more sound on the outside, less gambling

Bazz doesn't need to score more than 10 points a game. The team runs most efficiently when he's feeding AD or JL.
 

Rico444

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Here's a couple of things that are positives for me, but could also easily be seen as negatives:

1) Our starting PG, who played 35+ minutes, didn't score a single point.

2) WVU took 18 more shots than us.

3) The two teams were virtually even on the boards.

4) We received no production from the 3.

Defense is the key. We shot 57% to their 33% (26% in the 2nd half IIRC ). Tighten up a couple of things, and we're in really good shape moving forward.
 

caw

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Sometimes perception is far from reality, but using the old "eye test" scientific approach :) it just seems we're giving up some bad offensive rebounds and second changes through out the season and even last night. Now granted Jones is considered one of the best offensive rebounders in the BE. I watched him a few times closely and he's really good at quickly sealing off his man and setting up camp at one side of the basket either right before or after the shot goes up. With that said, there is still too much standing around from AD and AO, where they let their opposing players shoot the gap and grab some offensive rebounds. Their boxing out discipline still s*cks IMO. I'd like to see JC really get into them when they don't box out. It's a habit that can go a long way toward winning and losing games and I tend to like winning a lot more than losing.


I'm not saying UConn is doing a great job on the defensive glass, I'm saying they are doing almost as well on the offensive glass as the team they are playing. The eye test tells me this UConn team does not rebound as well as previous ones, from the guards to the center (though they look good sometimes). I would love to have UConn actually seal teams off the glass like MSU does or the 09 team did most of the time and have an advantage in that area.

I am just suggesting looking at raw numbers like 16-5 OR advantage is highly misleading when you factor in opportunities for an OR.
 

willie99

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what we're seeing is a typical Jim Calhoun team in January, and it still confuses all of us

he's making sacrifices to the basketball gods today to play better in March

there will be a day the light switch goes off and baddabing, we're contenders

maybe that happened Monday night, but probably not. They may have to see the dark side again to fully understand the message
 

RoderickSpode

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I can understand some getting concerned because we've had teams react in different ways to the traditional rough January. That said, when you have a team loaded with freshmen who are willing to learn and sophomores who, despite their experience, are still learning their roles (as sophomores usually are), I'd say there's a much better chance that we'll be moving in a positive direction. The daily improvement of AD will only help us get better, as rebounding and frontcourt scoring are two of our biggest concerns -- on a related note I really hope AO is officially back after the gritty performance he turned in this week.
 
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This is the time of year when JC starts building guys back up, having spent the first half of the season tearing them down, to break bad mental and physical habits. As has been noted, there was really only 8 minutes of greatness in this game, yet, in his public statements, and, I'm sure in his talk to the team, JC chose to focus on those 8 minutes. Earlier in the season, he would have lamented that it was 'only 8 minutes'.

This is also the time of year when conditioning starts to separate the contenders from the pretenders, and I was very encouraged by the pressing and running that we were able to do against a 'rock-fight' team. Obviously Saturday's game is huge, to see if they can build on this, but I think/hope that at the end of this year we can look back at those 8 minutes as the time when the light went on.
 
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