Harvard Breakdown | The Boneyard

Harvard Breakdown

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Aug 26, 2011
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An assistant coach of a team which has faced Harvard breaks down the Crimson for Yahoo.


So, the best way to defend them is to guard their bigs straight up. Their guards aren't creators and depend on having the bigs drawing double teams. I like our chances with AD and AO.

The key to their defensive success is applying heavy pressure on the ball to limit passing angles, but also allowing driving lanes. I REALLY like our chances if they are going to be pressuring Bazz and Boat.
Aug 24, 2011
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It was a nice breakdown and might just shed some light on how to best beat Harvard, but it sounds like this guys team tried this and ended up losing. Now granted, it sounds like whatever team this guys coaches didn't have the guards that could cause the problems that Bazz, Boat and Lamb can do.

I think I recorded at least one of the Harvard games, but never got to watch it, so I really don't have anything to add. My biggest concern has to do with this part of the article:

...playing so unselfishly on offense that any advantage you give them by doubling inside or bringing extra help off the dribble, they're going to whip the ball around until they find the absolute best shot possible.

UConn plays a lot of help-D, which most teams do unless they play zone, but at times are slow to recover, getting back on the players that are left open when helping out. They don't do much if any switching on D. It sounds like Harvard is a team that will make you pay if you don't get back and close out on their open shooters.

Last season during the 11 game post season run, the Huskies used their length to turning what often seemed like uncontested shot, altered shots and sometimes blocked shots. If our 3G-set (Bazz, Boat & Lamb) turns out to be our most offensively productive set, Harvard might be able to exploit it on the other end if they are able to blow up our D and get them often scrambling to recover. I'm hoping out Bazz and Boat are able to apply lots of on the ball pressure, disrupting their flow on enough trips that our lack of length at the perimeter won't be much of an issue. Obviously JC can go big by keeping Lamb at the 2 and rotating Roscoe, Daniels and Giffey at the 3, but you lose some of the dribble breakdown capabilities that the Crimson seem to be vulnerable with.

I might be very wrong with this following assessment, but I'm more worried about scoring on Harvard than stopping them from scoring. In their two most competitive games against FSU and UCF, they scored 46 and 59 respectively but allowed less that 50 points, 41 and 49. Then the next game they beat the 4-5 Vermont Catamounts 55-48. The number that sticks out to me is the string of keeping teams under 50 points.

It will be interesting to see if as the game unfolds it looks to be a low scoring game, which would favor Harvard.

With the addition of Boatright, I feel very good about this game. I think Harvard, like just about any team out there, is going to struggle to keep Ryan and Bazz out of the lane. As long as our perimeter players knock down their shots both inside and out, and our bigs come to play on both ends of the floor, I think UConn will be too much for Harvard to handle. Like most teams have found out the past 2 years, Harvard will find it hard to get good first looks close to the basket. Alex, Andre and Roscoe should be able to make them pay if they try to bring it inside too much. But if our guards are not able to disrupt Harvard's D and make plays, and/or our bigs don't take care of the boards, don't finish at least half their shots or defend the post, it could turn out to be UCF all over again.

As I said above, I think Boatright really changes the overall make-up of this team and I expect this team to continue to grow and get better with each game.
Sep 21, 2011
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That breakdown is excellent. To me it sounds like one of the biggest keys to this game is going to be Drummond staying out of foul trouble. I also think this game will be a great redemption opportunity for Oriakhi because I think he'll earn minutes playing great post D, and hopefully that will translate to some success on the offensive end. I'm a little weary that their bigs will take Oriakhi/Drummond outside, but I do wonder how much that will take them outside of their normal offense.

DM, you're absolutely right about the guards. I expect Shabazz and Boat to give them fits off the dribble. (If the opposing coach thinks Bazz can take them off the bounce, then Boatright definitely can.) As long as they limit turnovers, I like our chances. I'd be a little more weary if this game weren't in Gampel, but I expect the crowd to come to play as well.
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