Husky Hoopla: Projected Starting 5 - another opinion

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Chemistry in the starting unit is a factor. We don’t know the level of chemistry and cohesiveness exhists with Paige on the floor. How much command of the offense and defensive sets does she have?

We have not been told she knows the plays, and is capable of running the offense. There’s playing, and playing under control (knowing what you’re doing). Last year, Aubrey played, but did not know the plays or defensive sets. Sometimes she had to be told where to go by her teammates because she was out of place.

Chemistry is developed over time by playing together. How many minutes does Paige have in a real game with the returning players? I recall during the 2013-2014 season, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (KML) injured her shoulder, and missed several games. Brianna Banks and I believe Saniya Chong filled in for her until her return. I remember Brianna Stewart reflecting on how they missed KML while she was out. She said that the unit "chemistry" was not there. The "timing of the plays they tried to run was either off, or not there at all.

No disrespect to the other two players, but they knew what KML would do and where she would be on either end of the floor in any given situation because they played together for a number of games. The flow they had become accustomed to was missing until KML's return.

The bottom line here is simply this.........RIGHT NOW, does Bueckers understand Geno's offense enough to run it from the point? No one is questioning her skill set or BB IQ. Only her understanding of Geno's system. Bueckers may start next Saturday. That will be Gino’s choice. We'll find out next week
Well who does have experience at the point? There are only 4 returning players and I don't remember seeing any of them playing pg last year so someone who lacks team chemistry has to start at pg. I'm not convinced it's Bueckers who will start but the reason is Geno not wanting all the pressure on her, as he has stated repeatedly.
Remember that USA trusted her and Van Lith to start over all the guards in the U-19 tournament and they both delivered. S Car's talented guard Cook subbed for her in the U-17 games. Bueckers isn't your every day No 1 recruit.
 
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Please don't copy and paste from subscription sites due to potential copyright problems. I've already been spanked by "you know who" about suggesting copying and pasting from the Courant. Try putting the URL into Outline.com. It's a little bit of a pain, but it works.
You can copy and paste from article, as long as you comply with "fair use" restrictions. Can't copy an entire article, but you can copy and paste a quote.
 

Carnac

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I don't see chemistry and knowing what she's doing as being a problem for Bueckers. Offensive sets can break down for multiple reasons. When that happens somebody has to know how to make a play to beat the shot clock. Bueckers is better equipped to make a play in the moment than anyone on that team.
Bobby, That's a very strong statement. You're dismissing the skills and abilities of every other player on the team, even Evina and Christyn who have 2 years of experience under their belts. Paige has none. She has yet to compete against college level players. I can't make a statement of that nature.

There's a phrase that attorneys like to use in cross examinations or their closing arguments: "you're assuming facts not in evidence". Basically, you're saying that Paige is the best player on the team as a freshman. You may be right, but I'm from Missouri. I'll reserve my opinion on whether "she is better equipped to make a play in the moment" until I've seen her in a number of games before I can come to that same conclusion.
 
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Carnac

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Well who does have experience at the point? There are only 4 returning players and I don't remember seeing any of them playing pg last year so someone who lacks team chemistry has to start at pg. I'm not convinced it's Bueckers who will start but the reason is Geno not wanting all the pressure on her, as he has stated repeatedly.
Remember that USA trusted her and Van Lith to start over all the guards in the U-19 tournament and they both delivered. S Car's talented guard Cook subbed for her in the U-17 games. Bueckers isn't your every day No 1 recruit.
Your argument is noted. If Geno has seen enough to toss her the keys Saturday, so be it. Geno has seen her for a month of practices, I have not. I don't have to, I'm not the coach, or the one that determines the starting lineup. Sluconn Husky said: "She has the greatest basketball IQ of any high school player I've ever seen. Not going to take her long to figure it out". I respect HIS observations. He sits on a pretty high roost around here.

There have been several different lineup combinations posted by different posters. We do not all agree on the same 5. Some agree with me that Bueckers should come off the bench in the first game, while other believe she should start.

I would make the same argument against ANYONE else that I have not seen, than is a freshman and has not played in a single college level game against college level players, and is not forced into starting because of lack of talent or a bench like ONO and Christyn.

It maybe that Geno has seen her in practice the past month against the experienced returning players, and is impressed and convinced that she is ready to start. I understand what you and some others here have said. I hope you are correct and she stands out like a beacon in the night, and has a breakout year that surpasses all others. Let's see how she performs next weekend. Perhaps after next weekend, I'll come over to your side of the aisle. :)
 
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Carnac

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She has the greatest basketball IQ of any high school player I've ever seen. Not going to take her long to figure it out.
Sluconn, I respect your judgement!!! You are one of the most respected posters on this forum. You know your women's basketball. I know you've seen a lot of girl's HS basketball over the years. You're putting Paige at the very top of the pinnacle.
 
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If either Anna, Evina, or Aubrey faulter badly, say after the first 6 to 8 games, then I can see Paige coming in and starting over one of them. However, I don't think that Geno is going to put that much pressure on a Freshman, no matter what accolades Paige has achieved prior to coming to UCONN. Paige is going (and as she should) to have to earn her Starting Spot.

I think Paige will start from day one!
Paige
Christyn
Evina
Anna
Liv

Subs
1 Aubrey
2 Aaliyah
3 Nika
I can’t stop smiling!
 

Carnac

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Geno's comments that players like playing with Paige because she finds them when they are open and scores when then find her may be telling in that regard.

That said, I have no problem with the returners being the starters. They are a good squad. I doubt the season ends with them being the starters. Not because of any failing by them, but because of the tremendous talent in the freshmen class.
I'd bet the farm that Paige and Aaliyah will probably be starting by season's end. I say this all the time......the cream always rises to the top.
 
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I think Paige will start from day one!
Paige
Christyn
Evina
Anna
Liv

Subs
1 Aubrey
2 Aaliyah
3 Nika
I can’t stop smiling!
Then who plays underneath with Liv in the 4 position? Evina is a guard, Anna does not have the jumping ability or to the ball quickness, and CW and Paige simply cannot. Aubrey is a true floor asset with great numbers for her minutes played ( if extrapolated to a starter last year she averages a double double and is national leader in steals) and the best defender on the team. She was 6th man last year. It's reasonable to expect the 3 returning starters and the 6th man whose position became open to start as well as an upper classmen with 2 years experience in the SEC. It's all about Evina's health as to whether Paige starts but more importantly how much she plays. Also, don't be surprised to see a backcourt of Paige and Nika at times on the court. It may seem redundant but two great passers at the guard positions creates unusual opportunities for them. Paige can easily slide to the 2 at times and score first and create later. I watched all the film I could on Nika. She is very, very solid and can be an electrifying passer at times. Those 2 in full court press mode with transition passing off of steals will be riveting. One of the thousand reasons I can't wait for the season to start is so that the BY can see how good Nika is.
 
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Your argument is noted. If Geno has seen enough to toss her the keys Saturday, so be it. Geno has seen her for a month of practices, I have not. I don't have to, I'm not the coach, or the one that determines the starting lineup. Sluconn Husky said: "She has the greatest basketball IQ of any high school player I've ever seen. Not going to take her long to figure it out". I respect HIS observations. He sits on a pretty high roost around here.

There have been several different lineup combinations posted by different posters. We do not all agree on the same 5. Some agree with me that Bueckers should come off the bench in the first game, while other believe she should start.

I would make the same argument against ANYONE else that I have not seen, than is a freshman and has not played in a single college level game against college level players, and is not forced into starting because of lack of talent or a bench like ONO and Christyn.

It maybe that Geno has seen her in practice the past month against the experienced returning players, and is impressed and convinced that she is ready to start. I understand what you and some others here have said. I hope you are correct and she stands out like a beacon in the night, and has a breakout year that surpasses all others. Let's see how she performs next weekend. Perhaps after next weekend, I'll come over to your side of the aisle. :)
You have a POV I would share with respect to any other player. I haven't seen Bueckers as long as some but still since her sophomore season. I almost never watch girls high school BB for more than 10 minutes before moving on but I have really enjoyed watching Hopkins for the last 2 years. Re-watched a bunch during the summer. Bueckers was the most entertaining HS player I ever saw. And it goes well beyond her skills. She is fearless. She is confident. She is aggressive. She plays with joy. She is truly only interested in winning and prefers facilitating to scoring. And she will be surrounded by players with all sorts of ways to score. Yeah, I'm really really looking forward to next Saturday.

I hope Geno brings her off the bench. So much more dramatic. And lets her size up Quin.
 

Tonyc

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We've got the talent to go undefeated and we've got the inexperience to loose a couple of games. Alot of questions hanging over this years team. We can out talent alot of teams. The key is going to be when do we get our chemistry. Our two go to players are gone. Evina can be that player however we dont know how many minutes she can give us coming off her injury. Paige is a once in a generation player but she hasnt played a college game yet. We are depending on 2 juniors (Oliva and CW) to be the players we can count on during our growth period which will lead to our developing team chemistry and both are juniors with no seniors to look up too. Its on their shoulders. Anna has come along way in one season and looks to be a star in the making. She is a complete ballplayer. Aubrey can change a game with her athleticism. Nika and Edwards are both intense and physical players and much like Paige they have no college experience.

Some keys to this season will be answered early on. Assuming we play Miss St in our second game our intensity I believe is enough to beat them. We will see where our defense is and get a good idea of where we are as a young team. We follow that up with LVille who is always a good challenge.

I believe Paige came here to not come off the bench. However to throw her into a game like Miss St and Lville without any experience could hurt more then it could gain. For that reason I believe she will get alot of playtime filling in for Evina because of her injury and her need to take it slow until she is 100% healthy. With that said Aubrey starts with Evina CW Oliva and Anna. Paige will get plenty of minutes while Evina rests. Edwards and Nika will also get their minutes off the bench. Again we have the talent and more then any team in WCBB except for maybe SC. What we lack is experience and a nucleus that can lead this team. That will happen as the season progress's. Against top teams with a young team that lacks chemistry and experience you need players on the floor that have been there. If Paige can put on a show and be a leader on this team she will start but early on I think its better for her karma to come off the bench in the first few games.
 
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Bobby, That's a very strong statement. You're dismissing the skills and abilities of every other player on the team, even Evina and Christyn who have 2 years of experience under their belts. Paige has none. She has yet to compete against college level players. I can't make a statement of that nature.

There's a phrase that attorneys like to use in cross examinations or their closing arguments: "you're assuming facts not in evidence". Basically, you're saying that Paige is the best player on the team as a freshman. You may be right, but I'm from Missouri. I'll reserve my opinion on whether "she is better equipped to make a play in the moment" until I've seen her in a number of games before I can come to that same conclusion.
Not really assuming anything and never afraid to express my opinion. I trust my eyes. Other than the undersized Dangerfield scrambling around several times a game looking through bodies trying to get a decent shot off with the shot clock running down, I saw no one else step up and be capable of doing it with any real success against quality competition. It was frustrating watching them go 3-4 possessions and come up dry because of the lack of movement. Dangerfield is gone and I believe Bueckers has to be an improvement over what I saw. And she’ll get better every week and so will the movement as they realize she can find them. To each his own opinion, that’s just the way I see it.
 
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I'd bet the farm that Paige and Aaliyah will probably be starting by season's end. I say this all the time......the cream always rises to the top.
I agree with this and actually hope it happens sooner, like now. Geno is reluctant to give too much praise to freshmen, yet by his standards has been very positive in his comments regarding Paige, Aaliyah and Nika. I think you can read between the lines there, and conclude that all three will be major contributors from the beginning.

As for Evina, because she was ranked #2 out of high school, and had some success at Tennessee many at the Boneyard think Geno has to find a starting position for her, but why?

Could Evina, or Anna for that matter, be a pretty good starting point guard? Of course, so what! On this team that doesn't look like the best way to use her or Anna. Evina can be good at three positions, but she can help this team the most at SG and SF. I think SG is her best position. Paige and Nika will be on the short list of best passers ever at Uconn, both natural point guards, 40 minutes at point guard should be split between them, no one else need apply!

Lots of people want to push Evina to PF to create a starting position for her, by putting a square peg in a round hole. One again, Why? That is not in my opinion what is best for the team. We have two qualified candidates for that starting position, Aubrey and Aaliyah. One of those will be a very good starter with the other being a good backup. Are they better overall players than Evina? I don't know, but I bet they are better PF's. Rotating those players with Liv can be a three big rotation, with Aaliyah playing C when teamed with Aubrey.

On the other hand while we have two returning starters at SG and SF, outside of Evina, there are question marks regarding backup minutes at both of those positions. Aubrey could do it, but she is needed as part of the three big rotation, Mir might be good but we don't know. This is where Evina is really really needed and certainly capable if healthy.

Maybe she beats out Anna for starting SF or far less likely Christyn at SG. I really don't care who the starting two from those three are, but I hope to see those three in a wing rotation where like the bigs, they consume almost all of those 80 minutes, providing high level play for the whole game.

Two three player rotations and one more traditional two player rotation at point guard. Whoever winds up the first two off the bench play over 20 minutes a game, and Nika gets 10-12 as Paige's backup.

Geno's comments suggest he is happy now with those 8, saying the freshmen look like they have been playing college ball for awhile, instead of like most freshman. As practice continues he seems to be hinting that maybe Mir will have a spot role on occasion as well, if so great, but if we escape injuries those 8 in those roles, could be very good until next year, when the rotation could be much bigger.
 
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I agree with this and actually hope it happens sooner, like now. Geno is reluctant to give too much praise to freshmen, yet by his standards has been very positive in his comments regarding Paige, Aaliyah and Nika. I think you can read between the lines there, and conclude that all three will be major contributors from the beginning.

As for Evina, because she was ranked #2 out of high school, and had some success at Tennessee many at the Boneyard think Geno has to find a starting position for her, but why?

Could Evina, or Anna for that matter, be a pretty good starting point guard? Of course, so what! On this team that doesn't look like the best way to use her or Anna. Evina can be good at three positions, but she can help this team the most at SG and SF. I think SG is her best position. Paige and Nika will be on the short list of best passers ever at Uconn, both natural point guards, 40 minutes at point guard should be split between them, no one else need apply!

Lots of people want to push Evina to PF to create a starting position for her, by putting a square peg in a round hole. One again, Why? That is not in my opinion what is best for the team. We have two qualified candidates for that starting position, Aubrey and Aaliyah. One of those will be a very good starter with the other being a good backup. Are they better overall players than Evina? I don't know, but I bet they are better PF's. Rotating those players with Liv can be a three big rotation, with Aaliyah playing C when teamed with Aubrey.

On the other hand while we have two returning starters at SG and SF, outside of Evina, there are question marks regarding backup minutes at both of those positions. Aubrey could do it, but she is needed as part of the three big rotation, Mir might be good but we don't know. This is where Evina is really really needed and certainly capable if healthy.

Maybe she beats out Anna for starting SF or far less likely Christyn at SG. I really don't care who the starting two from those three are, but I hope to see those three in a wing rotation where like the bigs, they consume almost all of those 80 minutes, providing high level play for the whole game.

Two three player rotations and one more traditional two player rotation at point guard. Whoever winds up the first two off the bench play over 20 minutes a game, and Nika gets 10-12 as Paige's backup.

Geno's comments suggest he is happy now with those 8, saying the freshmen look like they have been playing college ball for awhile, instead of like most freshman. As practice continues he seems to be hinting that maybe Mir will have a spot role on occasion as well, if so great, but if we escape injuries those 8 in those roles, could be very good until next year, when the rotation could be much bigger.
I like the idea of the rotations you outlined, just not sure anyone expects Geno to really give the reins solely up to two freshman point guards no matter how good they are at this point.
 
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Starting 5/Best5:
PG: Bueckers
SG: Westbrook
W: Makurat
PF: Edwards
C: Nelson-Ododa

First Sub: Griffin
Second Sub: Muhl
Third Sub. Williams
 
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For the next four years this is Paige's program. Im kinda tired about hearing about the returning players. They were not good enough to win a national title last year, and they still aren't. When the team wins it all this year, it will be because the freshman class carried them.
 
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Will be really really surprised if the day one starting lineup is anything other than these 5. You can’t start Evina in place of Aaliyah. Playing 4 guards and Liv won’t win against the national powers. Need Aaliyah for that additional post presence alongside Liv.

Paige
Christyn
Anna
Liv
Aaliyah
 

Carnac

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I agree with this and actually hope it happens sooner, like now. Geno is reluctant to give too much praise to freshmen, yet by his standards has been very positive in his comments regarding Paige, Aaliyah and Nika. I think you can read between the lines there, and conclude that all three will be major contributors from the beginning.

As for Evina, because she was ranked #2 out of high school, and had some success at Tennessee many at the Boneyard think Geno has to find a starting position for her, but why?

Could Evina, or Anna for that matter, be a pretty good starting point guard? Of course, so what! On this team that doesn't look like the best way to use her or Anna. Evina can be good at three positions, but she can help this team the most at SG and SF. I think SG is her best position. Paige and Nika will be on the short list of best passers ever at Uconn, both natural point guards, 40 minutes at point guard should be split between them, no one else need apply!

Lots of people want to push Evina to PF to create a starting position for her, by putting a square peg in a round hole. One again, Why? That is not in my opinion what is best for the team. We have two qualified candidates for that starting position, Aubrey and Aaliyah. One of those will be a very good starter with the other being a good backup. Are they better overall players than Evina? I don't know, but I bet they are better PF's. Rotating those players with Liv can be a three big rotation, with Aaliyah playing C when teamed with Aubrey.

On the other hand while we have two returning starters at SG and SF, outside of Evina, there are question marks regarding backup minutes at both of those positions. Aubrey could do it, but she is needed as part of the three big rotation, Mir might be good but we don't know. This is where Evina is really really needed and certainly capable if healthy.

Maybe she beats out Anna for starting SF or far less likely Christyn at SG. I really don't care who the starting two from those three are, but I hope to see those three in a wing rotation where like the bigs, they consume almost all of those 80 minutes, providing high level play for the whole game.

Two three player rotations and one more traditional two player rotation at point guard. Whoever winds up the first two off the bench play over 20 minutes a game, and Nika gets 10-12 as Paige's backup.

Geno's comments suggest he is happy now with those 8, saying the freshmen look like they have been playing college ball for awhile, instead of like most freshman. As practice continues he seems to be hinting that maybe Mir will have a spot role on occasion as well, if so great, but if we escape injuries those 8 in those roles, could be very good until next year, when the rotation could be much bigger.
Hey oldhuskie, you’re almost as long winded as me. Good post. :) Geno will start the 5 best players regardless of their academic classification. Win at everything, one game at a time. Win the games you are supposed to win, and win the games you may not be favored to. Play every game with a no fear attitude. Refuse to lose.
 
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To start the season:
Westbrook
Williams
Makurat
Griffin
Nelson-Ododa

Midway through the season:
Bueckers
Williams
Westbrook
Griffin
Nelson-Ododa
I think that you obviously like Griffin but from everything I've seen, she is much more an athlete and less a skilled basketball player .... she is exactly the opposite of Makurat and I think that Anna was a key to UConn getting better as last season progressed .... her shooting skills and court awareness were and ARE through the roof and with her losing a bit of weight and coming in more fit, I think she will continue to play a more significant role with the Huskies than will Griffin ...
 
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For the next four years this is Paige's program. Im kinda tired about hearing about the returning players. They were not good enough to win a national title last year, and they still aren't. When the team wins it all this year, it will be because the freshman class carried them.
Do we know that they weren't good enough to win a national championship last year???? Remember, no tournament .... the Huskies had improved substantially from the early part of their schedule when they lost to South Carolina, Oregon and Baylor .... as someone has stated earlier, they had one bad quarter in all three of those losses that decided the game and I feel they had made big advances since then .... I however do agree that the influx of new talent should be utilized and will be to make this team a better one than last years team which lacked depth
 
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Geno's biggest problem this year and especially next year is how to keep everyone happy with their playing time. He has players that will be sitting on the bench that could start for most teams in the country. I'm hoping that they see the big picture of winning a National Championship and don't get discouraged and transfer.
 
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Only best I am willing to make is in the Louisville game every time HVL leaves the bench I bet Paige does also. She knows Hailey's game. The two have a lot of time playing together and even with Jeff coaching Paige was the point when it mattered. That is going to be a fun dynamic to watch!
 

EricLA

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Geno's biggest problem this year and especially next year is how to keep everyone happy with their playing time. He has players that will be sitting on the bench that could start for most teams in the country. I'm hoping that they see the big picture of winning a National Championship and don't get discouraged and transfer.
I was worried about that as well. But consider this. There is no starter who has ever left UCONN and transferred out (at least that I can recall).

As several have said, the cream rises to the top. The kids who are the best, who practice the best, and who perform the best on the court, will either start OR get a ton of PT off the bench. Geno has already raved about Paige, and has had very positive things to say about Aaliyah and Nika.

For the returning kids, he's also said great things about Olivia and Christyn as well as Aubrey and Anna. He has said great things about Evina, but also said she's working to get back into basketball shape after coming off so many injuries and surgeries. She may not be a starter on day 1. But boom. there are your 8 core players.

My point is, Geno is always very upfront about PT and how it's earned at UCONN. I do get that "knowing in theory" and "seeing in person" are 2 different things, but if kids are starting and/or getting lots of PT off the bench, unless there is some other issue, I don't see them leaving. I don't worry as much about "keeping players happy" because at UCONN it's sort of the opposite - prove to the coaches that you are a great practice player and earn PT on the floor. Then you WILL be happy.

Kids like Autumn and Piath simply won't get the PT in big games, and even in blowouts, their talent/skill levels are such that outside the last 4 minutes in blowouts, they likely won't see any PT this year. Mir is a wild card - she has a lot to learn, and could be as good as Aubrey as a freshman, but with so many talented players ahead of her, will probably see much less PT than Aubrey did last year.

Look at the kids who left over the past 10 years - Walker, Johnson, Engeln, Banks, Ekmark, Edwards, Coombs, Espinosa, Gordon. Not a single one of them was ever going to be a starter at UCONN. They knew it and the coaching staff knew it. All went to programs with less talent, and they were able to carve out more PT than they ever would have gotten at UCONN. And good for them - it was where most were able to thrive in getting the PT they wanted.

The cream will rise. If a kid isn't good enough, doesn't develop or improve enough, or has bad habits (or attitude), they won't earn the PT. If they leave, it creates more room for the coaches to focus on other kids and gives those other kids more opportunities for PT. WCBB isn't T-league where everyone gets a participation trophy and everyone gets to play. It's rough and tumble, with players especially, but also programs, looking out for their best interests.

Any kid who wants to leave UCONN for more PT opportunities, fans will wish them well, and then continue to root for the players who are left to continue to compete, make final 4's, and win NC's. And we are poised to win a bunch.
 

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