A lot to be encouraged about | The Boneyard

A lot to be encouraged about

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In no particular order:

- Ryan Boatright. How well he played today isn't done justice by the stat sheet. He dominated the game and damn near willed the team back in it after halftime. We can talk about a lot of things in regards to Boatright, but what often gets discounted is how exceptionally well-conditioned he is. Playing pedal-to-the-medal on both ends for 35+ minutes like he does is exhausting.

- Amida Brimah. We'll hear some b****ing about how he doesn't rebound well enough or how he doesn't have good hands or how he commits too many fouls, but again, the stat sheet doesn't sufficiently describe his performance. By my count, he blocked five shots and altered at least six or seven more. He dominated this game. That drop-step along the baseline was fantastic.

- Bryant played out of their a** a bit in the first half. They were drilling threes from NBA range, and they weren't all uncontested. I earned a lot of respect for them today - they weren't the typical low-major that came in and were immediately overwhelmed, they threw some punches and got some licks in.

- As I suspected, this defense has the ability to be absolutely tremendous. There were a lot of lapses in pick-and-roll coverage, some whiffs on backline rotations, and all the other stuff you'd expect from young teams at this point in the season. But that will hopefully be sorted out. Boatright, Samuel, and Brimah are downright vicious defensively. A lot of teams will simply be mercilessly suffocated by those guys. We saw pick-and-roll principles I outlined in my preview - chasing over the top on screens and a lot of overplay to funnel drivers into Brimah. It's a devastating formula when it works, nine minutes without a field goal is evidence of that.

- Hamilton, Samuel, and Cassell are going to compensate for a lot of perimeter shooting woes with their passing. Giffey and Daniels were terrific players, and they'll be sorely missed, but Hamilton brings an element of passing and ball-handling those two never had.

- I think this team will be much more successful against man than zone. Every offense is only so effective without three point shooting - and it will hold us back if it doesn't improve - but 90% of the top teams we're going to play will play exclusively man.

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I feel better about this team now than I did before this game. I'm glad they were tested and they displayed (especially the freshman) an instinct you can't teach in clawing their way back. I stand by my prediction that this team will drop a game, maybe even two, in San Juan. But if any fan base should have an appreciation for the process, it's this one. It's very early in the process, but we saw glimpses of how good they can be and I never noticed effort being an issue. If everybody buys in, this team will be good. It's almost impossible not to be with the infrastructure they have in place.
 
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I thought brimah had like 7-8 blocks, but i guess they were just great contests. This defense has tremendous upside as purvis and hamilton gain experience.
 
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I thought brimah had like 7-8 blocks, but i guess they were just great contests. This defense has tremendous upside as purvis and hamilton gain experience.

It definitely seemed like he didn't get credited for a deflection or two. Regardless, I'd love to know what Bryant shot in the restricted area with Brimah in the game.
 
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It definitely seemed like he didn't get credited for a deflection or two. Regardless, I'd love to know what Bryant shot in the restricted area with Brimah in the game.
Wish they had points in the paint numbers like in the NBA, I know we dominated inside in the first half at least and I certainly don't remember Bryant being very successful driving
 
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Rocktheworld said:
Wish they had points in the paint numbers like in the NBA, I know we dominated inside in the first half at least and I certainly don't remember Bryant being very successful driving

It's listed in the play by play (just needs to be counted up - and I was curious too so I did it). We had a 32-16 edge in the paint, with Bryant getting two buckets in there in the last minute to make it look a little better. They also had the two drives off Boat/Facey defensive lapses on the high ball screens and a couple others here and there.
 
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I think Champs09and04 is correct (below):

"Even if Boatright is unable to re-assume 100% of his defensive prowess from last season, his ability to marry discipline and awareness with the sort of spontaneous, off-ball heroics that he used to hang his hat on should be sustainable. He’s slithery enough to dodge many of the blindside screens that should be coming his way this season, and if Ollie intends to emphasize the press more than he did a season ago, there’s no better weapon to fund a vaunting 1-2-2." Page 23 of 34 of 2014-15 Champs99and04 Extensive Preview.

With Boatright in front and Brimah in back of the 1-2-2... I think vaunting is a great word to describe what this press could be capable of with this team.



The implementation on a regular basis of the 1-2-2 should be a lethal part of the Huskies defensive arsenal as the growing process continues and UConn looks to put together a run in March to repeat as National Champions.
 
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