Midway through the season progress report



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We are officially halfway through the 2019-2020 season, and our AAC farewell tour is going about as predicted...with a whole lot of highs, lows, and about everything in between. So basically what a lot of us thought about this team has been true, there is a high variability (St. Joes L, Florida W, Wichita comeback, USF egg). I wanted to take a look at some of the individual and team observations/expectations at the mid point through the season, so here we are.

Team defense- For the most part, our defense has been our bread and butter, and the identity of our team. Ever since Hurleys first game, we knew that we would identify as a hard nose defensive unit that got after it. Aside from a few lapses, this has been true. Our full court pressure when we get down late in games has shown to be real effective, and I hope in the second half of the season we start pressing a bit earlier.

Team offense- I'm sure most of us knew defense was our clear strength, but probably not by this much. We aren't very good offensively as we lack shooters and creators, but I think our biggest surprise has been our lack of movement. Too much standing around watching a guard who can't create for others try to do such that. Too many forced shots late in the clock. We are good however when we get up and down the court, so hopefully in the second half of the year we continue to move with pace, and most importantly, with purpose. This should help us improve on the offensive side.

Hurley- Good not great. He's done some things we all like and agree with, and some things not so much. Give it time to get all his guys in there after a year or two. Would still go to war for him every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Vital- Vital has played as expected in my opinion. Our best all around player. Live with the good and the bad with him. Top two shooter, best hustler and rebounder. He is a great leader and I will always love how he plays with all his heart. He's given us great four years at UConn, amidst a tough four years. He deserves nothing but praise.

Gilbert- Probably the most disappointing part of the season goes to Gilbert. Finally healthy, we all might've expected too much for him, but hey that's what you get for being a Mcdonalds All American. His on ball defense is second to none, don't get me wrong, but offensively he makes the same mistakes over and over and over and over again that's getting tiresome to watch. Having a miserable shooting season so far, doesn't create well for others, and has a bad habit to turn it over amongst the trees. We do however, need him to play better, if we want to do anything in the second half of the year. College basketball teams will go as far as their guards will take them...hoping he can improve and I think he will.

Refs- Trash

Bouk- Started off great, Xavier game he was unreal. This kid will be a stud, we all know that. Defensively he has to be better and limit his fouls so we can play him in longer stints.

Gaffney- Not ready to contribute at a high level yet if we are being honest. Next year will be a big year for him.

Carlton- After his Most Improved Player award last year, we all had high hopes for him. He has played pretty poorly this year so far. He eats against the cupcake teams early in the year, but so far has been a liability against tougher competition...on both ends of the floor. His lack of ability to jump and finish around the rim has been the greatest surprise however, as all the news about him getting stronger arose in the offseason. He has been benched multiple times this year already, so hoping he can turn it around.

Whaley- This depends on how you though of him going into the year. Many thought he wasn't much of a factor at all, then many thought he can be a consistent contributor after the Harvard game. All in all, he has in fact improved immensely, and I like his mid range jumper, but still don't know how big of a contributor he will really be. Been mostly used to spell carlton or when Carlton gets benched.

Akok- WE ALL LOVE AKOK. Nothing else needs to be said here. Actually, he can improve on his offensive game for sure, and Hurley can improve getting him involved, but other than that we all love him and there is no room for Akok slander here lol.

Sid- Sid has been one of the most interesting and surprising story lines this year. From getting benched for 3 straight games, to electrifying the XL crowd not once, but twice, and helping us comeback to what would've been our best win in a long time...he's been all over the place. I personally like him and always thought he needed to play more, and with Polley out he will get more minutes and hopefully deliver like he did against WSU. Hurley has said he earned it and I'm happy for him. Very excited to see how his second half of the year goes.

Adams- Don't think he's truly ready to contribute either. Decent 12-15 minute guy off the bench, but with Polley out we NEED him to make shots. If he's not making shots he hasn't helped much this year. His mind seems to be moving quicker than his body sometimes. We will see if he can capitalize on his minutes in the second half of the year, and play within his role.

Polley- Truly feel for the kid. Awful what happened. Polley has been 0 to 100 this year. From laying complete eggs across the box score, to playing rejuvenated against Tulane...Polley has been a guy that we don't know what to expect from. Lights out shooter and his aggressiveness his last game could be a game changer for the young man. Wishing him a speedy recovery and hoping he can come back strong for next year.

Let's hope for some improved guard play in the second half of the season that can help us finish out these close games and earn some tight wins. Good god I'm bored at work right now.

Go 'Skies
 
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We are officially halfway through the 2019-2020 season, and our AAC farewell tour is going about as predicted...with a whole lot of highs, lows, and about everything in between. So basically what a lot of us thought about this team has been true, there is a high variability (St. Joes L, Florida W, Wichita comeback, USF egg). I wanted to take a look at some of the individual and team observations/expectations at the mid point through the season, so here we are.

Team defense- For the most part, our defense has been our bread and butter, and the identity of our team. Ever since Hurleys first game, we knew that we would identify as a hard nose defensive unit that got after it. Aside from a few lapses, this has been true. Our full court pressure when we get down late in games has shown to be real effective, and I hope in the second half of the season we start pressing a bit earlier.

Team offense- I'm sure most of us knew defense was our clear strength, but probably not by this much. We aren't very good offensively as we lack shooters and creators, but I think our biggest surprise has been our lack of movement. Too much standing around watching a guard who can't create for others try to do such that. Too many forced shots late in the clock. We are good however when we get up and down the court, so hopefully in the second half of the year we continue to move with pace, and most importantly, with purpose. This should help us improve on the offensive side.

Hurley- Good not great. He's done some things we all like and agree with, and some things not so much. Give it time to get all his guys in there after a year or two. Would still go to war for him every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Vital- Vital has played as expected in my opinion. Our best all around player. Live with the good and the bad with him. Top two shooter, best hustler and rebounder. He is a great leader and I will always love how he plays with all his heart. He's given us great four years at UConn, amidst a tough four years. He deserves nothing but praise.

Gilbert- Probably the most disappointing part of the season goes to Gilbert. Finally healthy, we all might've expected too much for him, but hey that's what you get for being a Mcdonalds All American. His on ball defense is second to none, don't get me wrong, but offensively he makes the same mistakes over and over and over and over again that's getting tiresome to watch. Having a miserable shooting season so far, doesn't create well for others, and has a bad habit to turn it over amongst the trees. We do however, need him to play better, if we want to do anything in the second half of the year. College basketball teams will go as far as their guards will take them...hoping he can improve and I think he will.

Refs- Trash

Bouk- Started off great, Xavier game he was unreal. This kid will be a stud, we all know that. Defensively he has to be better and limit his fouls so we can play him in longer stints.

Gaffney- Not ready to contribute at a high level yet if we are being honest. Next year will be a big year for him.

Carlton- After his Most Improved Player award last year, we all had high hopes for him. He has played pretty poorly this year so far. He eats against the cupcake teams early in the year, but so far has been a liability against tougher competition...on both ends of the floor. His lack of ability to jump and finish around the rim has been the greatest surprise however, as all the news about him getting stronger arose in the offseason. He has been benched multiple times this year already, so hoping he can turn it around.

Whaley- This depends on how you though of him going into the year. Many thought he wasn't much of a factor at all, then many thought he can be a consistent contributor after the Harvard game. All in all, he has in fact improved immensely, and I like his mid range jumper, but still don't know how big of a contributor he will really be. Been mostly used to spell carlton or when Carlton gets benched.

Akok- WE ALL LOVE AKOK. Nothing else needs to be said here. Actually, he can improve on his offensive game for sure, and Hurley can improve getting him involved, but other than that we all love him and there is no room for Akok slander here lol.

Sid- Sid has been one of the most interesting and surprising story lines this year. From getting benched for 3 straight games, to electrifying the XL crowd not once, but twice, and helping us comeback to what would've been our best win in a long time...he's been all over the place. I personally like him and always thought he needed to play more, and with Polley out he will get more minutes and hopefully deliver like he did against WSU. Hurley has said he earned it and I'm happy for him. Very excited to see how his second half of the year goes.

Adams- Don't think he's truly ready to contribute either. Decent 12-15 minute guy off the bench, but with Polley out we NEED him to make shots. If he's not making shots he hasn't helped much this year. His mind seems to be moving quicker than his body sometimes. We will see if he can capitalize on his minutes in the second half of the year, and play within his role.

Polley- Truly feel for the kid. Awful what happened. Polley has been 0 to 100 this year. From laying complete eggs across the box score, to playing rejuvenated against Tulane...Polley has been a guy that we don't know what to expect from. Lights out shooter and his aggressiveness his last game could be a game changer for the young man. Wishing him a speedy recovery and hoping he can come back strong for next year.

Let's hope for some improved guard play in the second half of the season that can help us finish out these close games and earn some tight wins. Good god I'm bored at work right now.

Go 'Skies
Where's the Matt Garry Analysis? Good effort, big fan support, horrible FT shooter?
 
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Nice write up. Agree for the most part with what you have said, however I strongly disagree that Gilbert can't create for others. I'd argue that's the one thing he can do really well aside from on ball pressure defense. Hes ranked approx. 75th in the country in APG and I am sure that'd be a lot higher if some of our other players could finish around the rim. Let's hope for a strong finish to the year, and some momentum heading into the Big East!
 
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Nice write up. Agree for the most part with what you have said, however I strongly disagree that Gilbert can't create for others. I'd argue that's the one thing he can do really well aside from on ball pressure defense. Hes ranked approx. 75th in the country in APG and I am sure that'd be a lot higher if some of our other players could finish around the rim. Let's hope for a strong finish to the year, and some momentum heading into the Big East!
I appreciate the comment and your opinion, that's what makes this fun! However, I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Do we think 75th in the country in apg as the point guard for UConn is good? Means there's 75 other point guards or even shooting guards out there that are better. We gotta hold our Mcdonald's All American to higher standards, which maybe is why I've been disappointed so far, idk. 4.8 apg and 2.6 turnovers a game for your point guard at UConn isn't good, and Carlton had more assists than him against Wichita. Maybe your point about teammates not making shots is true, but we do need him to step up if we are gonna do anything.
 
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I appreciate the comment and your opinion, that's what makes this fun! However, I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Do we think 75th in the country in apg as the point guard for UConn is good? Means there's 75 other point guards or even shooting guards out there that are better. We gotta hold our Mcdonald's All American to higher standards, which maybe is why I've been disappointed so far, idk. 4.8 apg and 2.6 turnovers a game for your point guard at UConn isn't good, and Carlton had more assists than him against Wichita. Maybe your point about teammates not making shots is true, but we do need him to step up if we are gonna do anything.
Gilbert is very limited. His lack of explosiveness and “ups” absolutely shocks me. His lack of shooting absolutely shocks me. He isn’t an awful play maker but he makes some dumb decisions and is just too short at times. I root for the kid every game but it’s frustrating to watch. I hope he can start knocking down more threes which would help everyone on the team.
 
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I appreciate the comment and your opinion, that's what makes this fun! However, I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Do we think 75th in the country in apg as the point guard for UConn is good? Means there's 75 other point guards or even shooting guards out there that are better. We gotta hold our Mcdonald's All American to higher standards, which maybe is why I've been disappointed so far, idk. 4.8 apg and 2.6 turnovers a game for your point guard at UConn isn't good, and Carlton had more assists than him against Wichita. Maybe your point about teammates not making shots is true, but we do need him to step up if we are gonna do anything.
There are 351 D1 college teams. At an average of 11 players a team that would be about 3,861 players. Ranking in the top 75 of that isn't awful. I agree with you 100% that he should be a lot better, but to say he can't create at all is blasphemous
 
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There are 351 D1 college teams. At an average of 11 players a team that would be about 3,861 players. Ranking in the top 75 of that isn't awful. I agree with you 100% that he should be a lot better, but to say he can't create at all is blasphemous
Your math is blowing my mind right now. His assist to turnover ratio is 130th in the country...as a point guard. That's not good lol. He can't create well for others aka drive and kick, almost never works out. But to keep this from becoming a slander Gilbert thread I will just agree to disagree.
 
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Good OP.

Without Polley, I don't know that you're going to see much more pressing except in short spurts or desperation situations. We're down to 9 scholarship players and Gaffney and Whalley can't play more than 10 minutes without their weaknesses kicking you in the face. That leaves us 7 bodies, and that assumes Adams can go back to helping us and Sid can stay focused and contribute.
 
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Let’s just put it like this. We could easily be 14-2 with loses to @ Cincinatti and @ USF and 4 top 30 wins so I think we’re in a good spot in the rebuild where we are very close to being top 25.
 
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This team is starting to remind me of the 96-97 team, Rip's freshman year. I think we were down to 9 or 10 players at some point due to the King/Moore suspension? That team made it to the NIT at 18-15.

3 years later, 77-74! I'll sign up for that anytime.
 
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agree “they are who we thought they were!”

Gilbert - most of his career he spent rehabbing. He’s playing up to my expectations and should turn into an assist maniac the rest of the season and create plays with his ball handling. Need players to move around to create lanes and open up plays. That’s not fully on AG.
 
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Let’s just put it like this. We could easily be 14-2 with loses to @ Cincinatti and @ USF and 4 top 30 wins so I think we’re in a good spot in the rebuild where we are very close to being top 25.
Well said. The lagging piece is learning how to win winnable games instead of losing them.
 
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Well said. The lagging piece is learning how to win winnable games instead of losing them.
Exactly, Hurley in year one on competing with teams which we didn’t do with Ollie. Now year two will be more small fixes and go over the tiny flaws that are keeping us from winning
 
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Vital is giving what we expect but the reason this season is not better rests squarely on Gilbert and Carlton. There was a lot of early Brendon hype now faded away. losing Polley is a killer, because a game like yesterday when we shot 25% from 3 would have been in the win column. Always hopeful for Gilbert and Carlton because they provide the key to any success this year.
 
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Vital is giving what we expect but the reason this season is not better rests squarely on Gilbert and Carlton. There was a lot of early Brendon hype now faded away. losing Polley is a killer, because a game like yesterday when we shot 25% from 3 would have been in the win column. Always hopeful for Gilbert and Carlton because they provide the key to any success this year.
Losing Polley is awful, but it opens opportunity for Sid and Bouk. Let's see what they do with it!
 
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So someone expected us to be winless in the AAC at this point? Seriously? This is just not that good a team. Gilbert is an A10 level point guard. It is really an A10 level talent at this point. Bouknight looks like he will be good if they can figure out a role for him and as Ivecsaid before Akok is talented but on a top team would be coming off the bench this year. Our lack of talent means he is playing and looks to be Wearing down a bit to me
 
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The value of a great point guard can’t be overestimated. Someone let me know when we get one.
 
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I see Carlton as the major contributor to inefficient offense. He kills the team with his inability to finish at the rim, catch the ball and make foul shots.
Gilbert is a short shooting guard who is shooting poorly and forced to play the point as the best option. This is the position that wins games you could easily lose (Waters @ LSU last few years).
Akok with Carlton out there makes 40% of the team on the court can not catch or pass the the ball cleanly or move effectively with the dribble. Clogs the middle or these guys are out past the 3 point line where they are little or no threat. This puts a lot of "make plays" pressure on Gilbert, Vital and whoever else is in.
Expect Villanova will expose Carlton's faults, force Gilbert to dribble a lot by overplaying the passing lanes or letting Carlton set his useless high picks and forcing Gilbert to move laterally while the clock ticks down. Chance to win requires good shooting and game by Vital, efficient ball movement by Gilbert, and Bouknight and Wilson to play up to their athleticism level (not so easy to do).
 
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I see Carlton as the major contributor to inefficient offense. He kills the team with his inability to finish at the rim, catch the ball and make foul shots.
Gilbert is a short shooting guard who is shooting poorly and forced to play the point as the best option. This is the position that wins games you could easily lose (Waters @ LSU last few years).
Akok with Carlton out there makes 40% of the team on the court can not catch or pass the the ball cleanly or move effectively with the dribble. Clogs the middle or these guys are out past the 3 point line where they are little or no threat. This puts a lot of "make plays" pressure on Gilbert, Vital and whoever else is in.
Expect Villanova will expose Carlton's faults, force Gilbert to dribble a lot by overplaying the passing lanes or letting Carlton set his useless high picks and forcing Gilbert to move laterally while the clock ticks down. Chance to win requires good shooting and game by Vital, efficient ball movement by Gilbert, and Bouknight and Wilson to play up to their athleticism level (not so easy to do).
I don't think Gilbert is a shooting guard. Short he is though.
 
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We are officially halfway through the 2019-2020 season, and our AAC farewell tour is going about as predicted...with a whole lot of highs, lows, and about everything in between. So basically what a lot of us thought about this team has been true, there is a high variability (St. Joes L, Florida W, Wichita comeback, USF egg). I wanted to take a look at some of the individual and team observations/expectations at the mid point through the season, so here we are.

Team defense- For the most part, our defense has been our bread and butter, and the identity of our team. Ever since Hurleys first game, we knew that we would identify as a hard nose defensive unit that got after it. Aside from a few lapses, this has been true. Our full court pressure when we get down late in games has shown to be real effective, and I hope in the second half of the season we start pressing a bit earlier.

Team offense- I'm sure most of us knew defense was our clear strength, but probably not by this much. We aren't very good offensively as we lack shooters and creators, but I think our biggest surprise has been our lack of movement. Too much standing around watching a guard who can't create for others try to do such that. Too many forced shots late in the clock. We are good however when we get up and down the court, so hopefully in the second half of the year we continue to move with pace, and most importantly, with purpose. This should help us improve on the offensive side.

Hurley- Good not great. He's done some things we all like and agree with, and some things not so much. Give it time to get all his guys in there after a year or two. Would still go to war for him every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Vital- Vital has played as expected in my opinion. Our best all around player. Live with the good and the bad with him. Top two shooter, best hustler and rebounder. He is a great leader and I will always love how he plays with all his heart. He's given us great four years at UConn, amidst a tough four years. He deserves nothing but praise.

Gilbert- Probably the most disappointing part of the season goes to Gilbert. Finally healthy, we all might've expected too much for him, but hey that's what you get for being a Mcdonalds All American. His on ball defense is second to none, don't get me wrong, but offensively he makes the same mistakes over and over and over and over again that's getting tiresome to watch. Having a miserable shooting season so far, doesn't create well for others, and has a bad habit to turn it over amongst the trees. We do however, need him to play better, if we want to do anything in the second half of the year. College basketball teams will go as far as their guards will take them...hoping he can improve and I think he will.

Refs- Trash

Bouk- Started off great, Xavier game he was unreal. This kid will be a stud, we all know that. Defensively he has to be better and limit his fouls so we can play him in longer stints.

Gaffney- Not ready to contribute at a high level yet if we are being honest. Next year will be a big year for him.

Carlton- After his Most Improved Player award last year, we all had high hopes for him. He has played pretty poorly this year so far. He eats against the cupcake teams early in the year, but so far has been a liability against tougher competition...on both ends of the floor. His lack of ability to jump and finish around the rim has been the greatest surprise however, as all the news about him getting stronger arose in the offseason. He has been benched multiple times this year already, so hoping he can turn it around.

Whaley- This depends on how you though of him going into the year. Many thought he wasn't much of a factor at all, then many thought he can be a consistent contributor after the Harvard game. All in all, he has in fact improved immensely, and I like his mid range jumper, but still don't know how big of a contributor he will really be. Been mostly used to spell carlton or when Carlton gets benched.

Akok- WE ALL LOVE AKOK. Nothing else needs to be said here. Actually, he can improve on his offensive game for sure, and Hurley can improve getting him involved, but other than that we all love him and there is no room for Akok slander here lol.

Sid- Sid has been one of the most interesting and surprising story lines this year. From getting benched for 3 straight games, to electrifying the XL crowd not once, but twice, and helping us comeback to what would've been our best win in a long time...he's been all over the place. I personally like him and always thought he needed to play more, and with Polley out he will get more minutes and hopefully deliver like he did against WSU. Hurley has said he earned it and I'm happy for him. Very excited to see how his second half of the year goes.

Adams- Don't think he's truly ready to contribute either. Decent 12-15 minute guy off the bench, but with Polley out we NEED him to make shots. If he's not making shots he hasn't helped much this year. His mind seems to be moving quicker than his body sometimes. We will see if he can capitalize on his minutes in the second half of the year, and play within his role.

Polley- Truly feel for the kid. Awful what happened. Polley has been 0 to 100 this year. From laying complete eggs across the box score, to playing rejuvenated against Tulane...Polley has been a guy that we don't know what to expect from. Lights out shooter and his aggressiveness his last game could be a game changer for the young man. Wishing him a speedy recovery and hoping he can come back strong for next year.

Let's hope for some improved guard play in the second half of the season that can help us finish out these close games and earn some tight wins. Good god I'm bored at work right now.

Go 'Skies
Instead of starting a new thread, what does everyone expect for the rest of the year. What's a realistic record? I just want to see us start winning a few road games and developing a win streak or two. NCAA tourney is a long shot, so I just want to see us improve and gain confidence for next year. Hopefully we can keep Nova and Houston close and learn from whatever happens.
 
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Instead of starting a new thread, what does everyone expect for the rest of the year. What's a realistic record? I just want to see us start winning a few road games and developing a win streak or two. NCAA tourney is a long shot, so I just want to see us improve and gain confidence for next year. Hopefully we can keep Nova and Houston close and learn from whatever happens.
I'm really concerned that the AAC is better than I thought (mid level teams are competitive so as a mid level team we have to bring it every game to have a chance to win). Went to the UCF @ Tulane game and sat right under the basket (for $5) and got a real up close look at the players, player movement, faking, physicalness of play, etc. and if UCF is the worst team int the league we will have a lot of tough games (right now by record they are).
Tulane played ok but couldn't shoot, UCF moved the ball well, had real hard cuts and strong catches of the ball and rebounding. I poo hoo the coach K tree but Dawkins has these kids at UCF well coached. UCF had a sharp shooter and they worked real hard to get him the ball and at the least on most possessions it made Tulane account for that guy and opened up a lot of cuts and passes away from him. The sharp shooter never stood still and the Tulane guys were calling out where he was all the time so guys wouldn't switch off him to help.
One thing I noticed was that under the basket a lot of close plays on drives and shots and rebounds were just good plays with a little contact which the refs didn't call and shouldn't have. I think on tv I overestimate how many fouls there are underneath, this game was played tough but not a lot of fouls.
 
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