It isn't like we didn't see this coming | The Boneyard

It isn't like we didn't see this coming

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It's probably too early to say this team is fatally flawed, but the history of teams who are inept from behind the arch isn't all that inspiring.

Through five games, this team has chucked up 83 threes and made just 29% of them. To what extent this can be attributed to variance isn't yet known. They were at 37% one week ago before managing to shoot 6 for 33 in losses to West Virginia and Texas. Calhoun - a designated long marksmen before the season, even if he hadn't quite earned that label - being injured and Purvis seesawing in and out of the lineup doesn't help matters.

But as you examine the personnel on this roster, it's hard not to notice a glaring absence of perimeter shooting. 83 shots is a relatively small sample, but there's little in the way of my anecdotal observations that give me hope that this is an easily correctable problem. Hamilton and Boatright are both reluctant three point shooters, and even though they're both capable, Texas was content to give them plenty of room to launch in their defense of ball screens today. Boatright, especially, turned down multiple clean looks, instead looking to reset the offense or attack the driving lanes.

Essentially, Boatright and Hamilton are solid three point shooters who don't stretch the defense the way high volume, high accuracy shooters would. Neither of them are particularly comfortable pulling up from three off the dribble, and they're indecisive enough on catch-and-shoot opportunities to allow closing defenders the split second they need to close shooting windows.

Meanwhile, Terrence Samuel is simply a one-man wreckage crew offensively (which pains me, because I love what he does on the other end). Samuel has gone from a useful bench piece to a poor man's R.J. Evans on offense over the offseason. It's one thing when defenses help off you - it's another when they're leaving you on an island. At this point, UConn is playing 4 on 5 with Samuel out there - he has no range outside of 3 feet and he isn't big or adept enough as a driver to make defenses pay for abandoning him.

Sam Cassell plays for the sole purpose of hitting the threes that Boatright and Hamilton generate on drives. Unfortunately, he's not hitting any of them. When Purvis returns, he may struggle to find minutes.

Not having a great three point shooter puts us in the company with a lot of teams. Unfortunately, just as we all feared, Ollie has yet to uncover a front court pairing that moves the needle offensively. Brimah, Nolan, and Facey have combined for three assists this season, total. And while college forwards are typically deficient as ball-handlers and passers, these figures lag well behind even the moderate bar that was set for them. Brimah experienced some success in the post against smaller defenders earlier in the year, but Texas' beefy front court overwhelmed him.

The limitations of our big men enables defenses to monopolize the middle of the court, face guard Boatright away from the ball, and stack the paint to deter drivers. Texas was begging for somebody other than Boatright to beat them today, and it didn't happen.

Defensively, I was very happy. The perimeter D was fantastic. The transition defense was horrific, particularly in the first half, but Ollie will have them run half a marathon for every transition basket allowed and that problem will be fixed. There's no reason this shouldn't be a top ten unit, and I think they're well on their way.

I was in the house today. Awesome atmosphere, hard-fought game. Those are the type of rock fights that endear me to college basketball, even if that doesn't necessarily make sense. The offense will obviously improve; returning Purvis should do wonders for this teams consistency. I just fear there may be a defined ceiling on this team if they don't start shooting it better.
 
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Can lenehan hit threes? It may be worth a shot at this point to give him some minutes at the 2.
 

UChusky916

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On the season, UConn has 49 assists and 59 turnovers. That's been the difference. That stat is not a telling result that they're ONLY missing shots. Yes, thats a contributing factor but the bigger issue is that the chemistry and ball movement isn't good. A lot of that has to do with the team still working to find their niches. That's been tough with Purvis in-and-out of the lineup and Calhoun sidelined.

I only trusted Boat and D-Ham with the ball in their hands today. And I only trusted Boat and D-Ham to score when putting up a shot today. That's a problem.
 

David 76

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Champs, near fatally flawed and top 10 tea team? Or top ten team if we start to shoot better from the outside Not sure I follow that but I agree: defense was good, we don't have enough outside shooting, our front court gets pushed out of the way and the crowd was great.

I only disagree about our bigs' assists. We would have to pass the ball to them to test that theory.

Anyway, it was one made basket in the last 7 minutes from being a great day
 

OkaForPrez

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Spot on Champs, just surprised no silver lining comments on facey, he's improving at a rapid rate with his minutes and was the most dominant rebounder for either side today against an elite level front court. For as bad as our shooting woes have been, things would be far worse without faceys windex job. We can dwell on our liabilities right now and the wing opposite boat and Hamilton is certainly one of them but we're getting a lot more than we expected out of facey.
 

OkaForPrez

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Champs, near fatally flawed and top 10 tea team? Or top ten team if we start to shoot better from the outside Not sure I follow that but I agree: defense was good, we don't have enough outside shooting, our front court gets pushed out of the way and the crowd was great.

I only disagree about our bigs' assists. We would have to pass the ball to them to test that theory.

Anyway, it was one made basket in the last 7 minutes from being a great day
Top 10 defensive team.
 
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Excellent post Champs99and04. I am with you in that the struggles that this team is experiencing should have been expected. Brimah has come a long way, but still has a long way to go before he becomes a real scoring and passing threat. The front court play is not strong and the team needs another good ball handler and outside scoring threat. Ryan Boatright is being expected to do too much. The team has been beset by injuries from the start which in my opinion is interfering with the development of player's roles and general team chemistry. In addition, the team lost a most of their scoring from last year and it will take a good amount of time for the current team to develop enough to consistantly fill even part of that deficit.

It was also at today's game and was amazed at how energetic and loud the crowd was. The team is not strong, but they did play even with a really good, solid team and had several opportunities to get the W. Though disappointed with the outcome, I was pleased at how well UCONN played, particularly after they way they played against West Virginia.

I hope Ryan Boatright will be back to the lineup soon, but if they have to play without him for a game or two, then it will force some of the other players hasten their pace of development. KO will have to cobble together a team from a lot of new players and will likely have to radically alter the team's style of play from the team that played last year. It will be a hell of coaching job, but thankfully we have one hell of a coach. I still expect them to make the tournament, though it will likely not be a higher seed. If so, they will be that team that no higher seed will want to face in the opening round - simply because they are UCONN.
 
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Yes we knew there was a shooting problem, but KO recently was quoted saying we have good shooters, they just need confidence, but I don't see it. I always wonder how it is that on the women's team there are players that can just make wide open uncontested 3's from the same line and some of the starting men players can't. Think about the shooters that we have had on UCONN. They came with a rep, but even if you never saw them, within 2-3 games you knew. Guys like Rip, Donyell, Ray, Khalid, Bazz and now Hamilton.
So IMO great shooters are born with that feel and talent that they can further develop. TSam had all summer to develop his shot knowing it would be needed. Is it there? Not in the DNA. I guess we are just hoping Cassell or Calhoun come in and just start knocking them down, but it's kind of a prayer at this point.
 
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Spot on Champs, just surprised no silver lining comments on facey, he's improving at a rapid rate with his minutes and was the most dominant rebounder for either side today against an elite level front court. For as bad as our shooting woes have been, things would be far worse without faceys windex job. We can dwell on our liabilities right now and the wing opposite boat and Hamilton is certainly one of them but we're getting a lot more than we expected out of facey.

Yup, there were a lot of positives to take away, Facey's continued dominance on the glass being one of them. It seems like this is going to be a good rebounding team and Facey is the biggest reason for that. My biggest gripe with Facey is that it seems like he could be more assertive offensively. One other thing I noticed was that Hamilton's defense was much better today, the last play notwithstanding. It's possible that this team is just one Omar Calhoun or one Rodney Purvis away from being really good, hopefully that's the case. If Holmes misses that last shot, everything about today has a completely different spin, so we shouldn't lose sight of that. At the same time, there needs to be plenty of urgency against Duke, Florida, and Stanford.
 

nomar

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We have no inside scoring and no perimeter scoring. We have Boat and D-Ham...and hopefully Purvis...and hopefully Omar.

Great D today, good comeback, but another loss due to our inability to score in a competent manner. We're just a really bad offensive team. Boat and Hamilton have been very good but it just gets really ugly after that. Really, really ugly.
 
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Just looking forward to Boat, Omar and Rodney getting healthy. That's all I am asking for at this point.
 

OkaForPrez

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I'm not ready to sell off Brimah on O completely, his last jump hook was in and out, yes he struggled against Texas, they are a top 10 defensive team. We generated open looks, we will figure out the guy who can knock em down.
 
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Honestly I don't think we can count on Omar(especially right away).

He is coming of a dreadful season and now another injury.

Anything we get from him will be a bonus.

Purvis could be a difference maker. he is not a shooter but a scorer.

I also would like to see Facey get more involved in the offense-he has been doing a great job rebounding so far.
 
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