Starting Lineup Redux



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Last year Meg played 34 mpg and CW and CD almost 36 minutes per game. We had no bench. The starters may not play 25 mpg this year but it will not average 35 either. I expect around 30-32 with maybe one or two at 33-34. One thing that can happen this year is substitution regularity such as resting a starter at a given time in each half or even each quarter except in big games or close games. I just see that happening in order to see your freshmen and give them game experience and also because of position back up. While we certainly won't FCP the entire game unless we have to, I think you will see a lot more of it this year as well as the half court trap which can simply be doubling an offensive player in a weakened position on the floor. How do you press and trap over an extended period of time with 6 or 7 players like last year? Very difficult. But with 10 players, and each position having a back up, you have more options. The increased activity on the defensive end last year went hand and hand with the increased movement on the offensive end which included more passing for the Geno offense and hence the revitalization of the team at the end of the season. Geno likes to score in bunches early and take the game over and of the freshmen, if they don't start, Paige, Nika, Mir and AE are all "press-worthy" players that can come in with Piath being athletic also.
Yes. I think what you posted is basically what I said. Unless you think for example Piath is going to get 10 minutes a game vs the elite teams? Piath won't get 10 minutes in those big games unless Edwards can't be a backup - the same with Griffin -and/or Liv is in foul trouble or hurt.

Yes I agree you play the freshmen. But you don't sacrifice losing games in order to give them minutes. Just because UCONN traps vs the elite teams it doesn't mean vs that elite team it's going to work. Trapping is a double-edged sword. There is a player open on the offensive end if you trap. Some of the great men's college teams that were great trapping teams -- some overwhelming favorites have gotten beat because a far lesser team beat the press. There's risk in trapping and there will be some games UCONN won't do it a lot vs some of the elite teams. And if you aren't trapping all the the time then it means you can play 6 or 7 players.

If any of our bottom-of-the-bench players are struggling (not all ofc)- which I can't believe won't happen at least during some moments in time- then those bottom of the bench players will not play at that moment vs the elite teams. The more that more young player's struggle - the less the ability to press hard most of the game.
 
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I understand the argument for the "easy 80" and from whom/position the points will reasonably be scored. You make a very clear explanation.

My point is that the talent that will be sitting on the bench (only five can play at a time) will be making their case for more playing time when they are in the game. When they get more playing time together - whether with some or most of the starters, they will be working on being tough defenders within the half-court, jumping the passing lanes, blocking shots, and getting steals. Hustle plays generate more hustle plays, just like when Stewie was here, positive examples by the leaders teach the "youngsters" to hustle and attempt to win each possession on offense and defense. It's an attitude that is contagious.

Geno/CD can (and probably will) shutdown "primetime" by having the PG dribble around to burn time, but the defense will still be smothering. The UCONN attitude IMHO is that "we have worked hard to build this lead, let's not let it slip away!" Every possession and defensive effort are opportunities to learn for our young team. I believe they will learn quickly and be efficient and effective come January, 2021, such that very few teams will be able to hold them under 100 unless Geno, CD, et. al, shut them down. I envision that the "starters" will not play much in the 4th quarter [due to "blow outs"] against teams that are not in the top 25, but the UCONN second team will still be better than their opponent's first team. This will drop the "starters" minutes down to around thirty-ish, but as you said, 25 minutes for the starters is unrealistic, and the starters minutes will build again at tournament time.

Yes, they may score less than 80 from time to time, and they may have a bad game against one of the best teams in the nation (but still win 68-67 in OT), but that is why they call in an average...add 'em up, and divide by the number of data points..... I will never complain about the score (or lack thereof). I enjoy the variety of ways they continue to win. I, for one, will never get tried of them winning, as they are winners all!!!

The bottom line, I do not think scoring will be a problem for this group of women as they each become confident of their "piece of the puzzle" in the scheme of UCONN women's basketball.

I hope you are right!! I don't agree with some of this but I hope you are right!!!! I just want to add 4 things.


1-- I think UCONN should play a style that they think will work vs anyone. Thus playing players 9 and 10 imo isn't worth it unless they are near as good as players 4,5 and 6.

2--- I think the following 5 players have at least Honorable Mention All-American possibilities. OFC not all will be but - Liv, Evina, CWill, AM, and PB all have the capability. Add in a certain certainty with Griff’s defense - she gets minutes too. Are the idea vs the elite teams to bench our potential Honorable Mention Al-American for a 9th or 10th player on the bench when every possession counts vs these elite teams?

3-- Paige and Evina are brand new to the team and both are potential All-Americans. They don't get better sitting on the bench. And the top players won’t get as much better if they aren’t learning to play with them. Liv, Cwill, AM and Griff have to be given minutes to play with tem vs the 9th and 10th player. More than likely those extra minutes they play together is more important than the 9th or 10th player or both.

4--- IMO when you are already up 80-40 in the 4th quarter - what good is it going to do in preparing for the elite teams to keep forcing play and ram down the other team far less talented team's throats fast break basketball? You have already established that you are an elite fats-breaking team. Eventually when you run into the elite teams they aren’t going to let you run on them as much. IMO it would be better to work on your half-court offense. And I believe Geno does this all the time and will continue to do it. Sure they will make steals but after the steal they won't run all the time for a fastbreak unless it's a breakaway. Heck, Geno might even play zone to keep the score down. While also practicing it vs the eventual encounter against the bigger elite teams. IMO you can’t put all your eggs in one basket with defensive pressure leading to easy fastbreaks, You also have to work on if the pace of the game vs the elite team is slowed down and you can't get very many steals- halfcourt game will be required. They have to work on that eventuality.
 
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A couple of points on the issue of playing a deep bench (9-10) vs. a short one (6-7). I understand that the 9th or 10th best player isn't as good as the 5th or 6th etc. but there is more to it than that.

In my opinion teams with great benches can sometimes play their starters closer to 25 minutes a game or a little bit more. Teams with weak benches frequently stretch their best starters closer to 35, in essence saying a very tired starter is better than a fresh sub that is much weaker.

Last year we were in the later category, and it could be argued that Megan, Crystal and Crystyn were all less effective than they would have been per minute, with fewer minutes. So with a limited bench the decision isn't a starter at their peak vs. the bench player, but in fact a starter at well less than 100%.

Of course it varies a-lot by individual, but usually I think you can get upper 20's to 30 minutes from a starter without much drop-off, assuming normal mostly half court play. But suppose you do want to press frequently and fast break. Now your starter minutes might need to be cut to 25 or so. If your bench was deep enough both starters and bench could press as much as the coach wanted, and go full out all the time regardless of who is in.

That is what is potentially exciting about this group. If say 9 are playable at a reasonably high level, then all the strategies are on the table. Last year Liv had to be extra carefull about fouls, Crystal and Crystyn were better at that, but also had to make sure they stayed in the game. They were not really available to exert maximum effort or a pressure defense because they had to conserve enough energy to play 35 minutes.

With a deep bench you have three big advantages.

1. Your starters are more productive when they are on the court, can play aggressively every minute they are out there.

2. Both the starters and the bench can press or fast break as much as desired.

3. You can wear out other teams starters, particularly those with short benches like we were last year. Our rested starters pressing their gassed ones etc.
 
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I hope you are right!! I don't agree with some of this but I hope you are right!!!! I just want to add 4 things.


1-- I think UCONN should play a style that they think will work vs anyone. Thus playing players 9 and 10 imo isn't worth it unless they are near as good as players 4,5 and 6.

2--- I think the following 5 players have at least Honorable Mention All-American possibilities. OFC not all will be but - Liv, Evina, CWill, AM, and PB all have the capability. Add in a certain certainty with Griff’s defense - she gets minutes too. Are the idea vs the elite teams to bench our potential Honorable Mention Al-American for a 9th or 10th player on the bench when every possession counts vs these elite teams?

3-- Paige and Evina are brand new to the team and both are potential All-Americans. They don't get better sitting on the bench. And the top players won’t get as much better if they aren’t learning to play with them. Liv, Cwill, AM and Griff have to be given minutes to play with tem vs the 9th and 10th player. More than likely those extra minutes they play together is more important than the 9th or 10th player or both.

4--- IMO when you are already up 80-40 in the 4th quarter - what good is it going to do in preparing for the elite teams to keep forcing play and ram down the other team far less talented team's throats fast break basketball? You have already established that you are an elite fats-breaking team. Eventually when you run into the elite teams they aren’t going to let you run on them as much. IMO it would be better to work on your half-court offense. And I believe Geno does this all the time and will continue to do it. Sure they will make steals but after the steal they won't run all the time for a fastbreak unless it's a breakaway. Heck, Geno might even play zone to keep the score down. While also practicing it vs the eventual encounter against the bigger elite teams. IMO you can’t put all your eggs in one basket with defensive pressure leading to easy fastbreaks, You also have to work on if the pace of the game vs the elite team is slowed down and you can't get very many steals- halfcourt game will be required. They have to work on that eventuality.
I agree entirely. If all 10 are healthy, games against top ten teams will be 7 or 8 deep (most likely 7) to ensure the good teams do not get a big run going in close games.
Complementary to your fourth paragraph, having great athletes 6' to 6' 5" at all positions allow effective switching which turns into a hybrid man-to-man and zone that is amorphous to frustrate the opponent's offense. This also tends to shrink the rotation to 7 - 8, which as of the last four years had the rotation down to 6 at times when an injured player was not available. At times, the sixth appearance was only in because of foul trouble.
Geno's & CD's instincts and instruction of the team builds both the half-court defense, and the rapid ball and player movement half-court offense. IMHO, the half-court offense starts having issues when the player movement slows down. Whatever it takes to keep rapid and intentional player movement in the half-court offense with the great talent available in 2020-2021 will be able to separate this team from the other top ten opponents as well.
No eggs in one basket here, as having every wrinkle in offense and defense that can be shifted without a time-out has historically been the main staple in Geno & CD's run to 11 national titles and the currently intact string of Final Four appearances, which you know already. IMHO, this team will have ALL that abundantly starting in January as they march towards the NCAA tournament
I pray for continued health and full recovery for our athletes have had corrective medical procedures.
 
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No one is suggesting that you set up a rotation of players and just stick with it no matter who you play or how you are playing. This isn't rec basketball. What is being suggested is that we finally have a bench so that means that you can rest your best players at times in the games. The logical and proper way that happens is with substitutes by position. No, you don't put Piath in for 10 minutes against South Carolina. But when Boston goes out, maybe Liv does too and Piath spells her. No one is suggesting either that you press and trap for 40 minutes as a matter of course irrespective of the opponent or score. What I was suggesting is from Gens's lips last season. The change in defense changed the movement on the offense according to him. I will give you proof. Watch an earlier league game at random and then watch the last two games of the AAC tourney. The ball movement in the half court offense in the tourney was light years ahead. The speed of the game changed. It wasn't plodding, it was fast paced with fast ball movement with several passes and open shots. Did they suddenly all just get it? Nope. The defense became higher pitched and more aggressive and it translated into offense and sped up the game whether by transition baskets or in the half court set. If we can have CW play 30 non-tired minutes where she doesn't have to be on the floor, it's better than 36 pushed and stretched out minutes. As the season goes on, it wears you down. Here is another point. I think in the last 3 FFs we were a tired team and it became a factor because we had no bench. If you can get your subs to do a creditable job, it changes everything. Yes, some of the frosh will go through an Anna like phase for sure. There is only one way out of it. Harder work at practice and PT. The points made above about foul trouble and player movement are right on the money. Especially in league play, you can go out after that third foul with a position bench and your sub doesn't have to play "no fouls" defense that you would have to play while you were in. I've watched our recruits and they are legit UCONN players. There is no way they are going to be sitting most of the time while only 6-7 players play. If there are special circumstances like a top 5 team that's different and even then Geno might surprise you. Finally, no one is saying that you only have a press on defense and no offense. That's not basketball. What I am saying is I look at the turnaround last year, I look at the talent returning and the talent and speed of these freshmen, two of whom, Mir and AE, are very solid defenders (Paige is a given) and I see a pressing and trapping team that we are going to love watching.
 
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Of course it varies a-lot by individual, but usually I think you can get upper 20's to 30 minutes from a starter without much drop-off, assuming normal mostly half court play. But suppose you do want to press frequently and fast break. Now your starter minutes might need to be cut to 25 or so. If your bench was deep enough both starters and bench could press as much as the coach wanted, and go full out all the time regardless of who is in.

That is what is potentially exciting about this group. If say 9 are playable at a reasonably high level, then all the strategies are on the table.
The bold is what scares me which is why overall the 9the 10th players will rarely work if the plan is to consistently use them in close games other 2-3 minutes. Heck I'm one of the more optimistic posters of Paige as a frosh but maybe some aren’t - yet what you're implying is to trust the 9th and 10th player (probably freshmen) in games that will probably be tight? SO anyone who is cautious with Paige, wouldn't they be even more cautious with the 9th and 10th player as I am too? One possession could change the outcome of a game. IMO it’s a big risk to take in that you don’t need to take it.


Secondly, when you press the elite teams will scout you. When they do it means they will be prepared for it. ORFC some teams UCONN will bury but on the flip-side you can look at the history of basketball in which some overwhelming pressing teams got beat by a much lesser team because the lesser team beat the press. You’re giving the other team an opportunity to beat you vs if you just play the game with periodic trapping rather than full out.


Just because your players are fresher doesn't mean that they are better on that given night. For example, say you use your 9th and 10th player while a star was on the bench and you lose ground because the 9th and 10th player couldn't turn over the opposing team, and they’ve gotten some easy baskets and changed the momentum. Thus, you lose the game by a slight margin. Can we say that the coach that used the 9th and 10th player blew the game? He or she kept one of his top players on the bench while Rome began to burn. And when the star(s) came back in - they couldn't overcome the fires that were created because the bench was ineffective. That's about as frustrating way to lose as I can imagine. And by that I mean - "not playing our stars because we were hoping our 9th and 10th players could help wear down 18-21 year old opposing players" who are probably extremely fit rather than trying to win by just playing your best.

Because this team has potential of 5 players with a possibility of at least Honorable Mention A/A (I know all 5 won't be), I don't think the 9th and 10th player on this team can be counted on to be playing at "reasonably high level" to potentially that ceiling of Honorable Mention A/A. I think its more wishful thinking. There will be freshmen who struggle. They aren't pros. And they are 9th and 10th for a reason.

******I want to add though -- I am EXCITED TO SEE the 9th and 10th players moreso than any time in recent memory. So hell yeah-- if they can do it - if the 9th and 10th players are good -- I would love it!! Play it! Punish the opposition and don't let up playing like Wild Husky dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) It is super exciting to watch trapping basketball leading to fastbreaks.
 
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I don't see any more than 7 players getting game changing minutes against a top 5 team. Geno will play it close to the vest in those games as he has in the past. We have to remember also that Geno's MO is to use practice as a means of earning playing time in games and we don't know for sure how the frosh will perform. I think however that they have a natural leader in Paige and will be very excited, animated and malleable. As for the defense, you will not see the press and trap all game because after a while they become easy to break as was pointed out. They are best used sporadically and unexpectedly. The defense will be pressurized and the offense fast tempo though and we may all be surprised with the development of the freshmen. The only question is who besides Paige will have the same type of growth year that Aubrey did last year.
 
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I don't see any more than 7 players getting game changing minutes against a top 5 team. Geno will play it close to the vest in those games as he has in the past. We have to remember also that Geno's MO is to use practice as a means of earning playing time in games and we don't know for sure how the frosh will perform. I think however that they have a natural leader in Paige and will be very excited, animated and malleable. As for the defense, you will not see the press and trap all game because after a while they become easy to break as was pointed out. They are best used sporadically and unexpectedly. The defense will be pressurized and the offense fast tempo though and we may all be surprised with the development of the freshmen. The only question is who besides Paige will have the same type of growth year that Aubrey did last year.
Totally agree. Geno will have a full team this year with most of the practices more difficult than the in league games. By the way, thanks for keeping your comments to under 10 sentences. This is a tough thread to read.
 
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(1) No one is suggesting that you set up a rotation of players and just stick with it no matter who you play or how you are playing. (2) I will give you proof. (3) There is no way they are going to be sitting most of the time while only 6-7 players play. (4) I look at the talent returning and the talent and speed of these freshmen, two of whom, Mir and AE, are very solid defenders (Paige is a given) and I see a pressing and trapping team that we are going to love watching.
As for number (1) above- on page 2 of this thread it sounded like you want to see trapping all the time. If you didn’t' then fine. Then we have no argument. Some other posters on page 1 and page 2 refer to 10 players too without a caveat of some games they don’t play and/or how many overall minutes do they get. If they agree with you and I then that is fine. But it's clear you are talking 10 players and trapping - and you didn't mention caveats. So you mean under certain situations -- but others they don't play more than likely - okay.

And it's not just this thread. But I can recall other times a poster thinks Geno blew it by not playing Natalie Butler more (that poster told me he doesn't think Geno walks on water- I think he does.). Another poster thinks you win with nothing but defense. Another poster wants to see low scoring defensive battles. She thinks that’s the best way the team should go. The last 3 are examples of "play size no matter what," and "go with defense no matter what." So I don't agree with your number 1. These fans and probably others are looking for fixed type of rotations in some manner believing in heavy defense/pressure/size regardless of offensive play. For example Butler wasn’t playing well at end of that season yet the guy was insistent Geno blew it by not playing her.

As for number (2)-- You and I have gone over #2 at length. Just to reiterate I disagree with your take as what you think as "proof." The defense allowed UCONN to raise its floor so the lesser teams had nearly no little chance to beat them. While you and I agree UCONN could have beaten Oregon, imo it would have had to have bene with offense. If you think UCONN could have stopped Oregon’s' frontline with a soph center and freshman that wasn't a natural PF and a small PF in Walker, and our guards bottling up Sabrina, well I think you're all wrong. I won't elaborate on this any more. That was a fun back-and-forth.

As for number (3) - Sure. But I didn't say otherwise.

As for number (4) -- sure- I hope you are right. But it's okay if I'm a little skeptical, right? I haven't seen them enough. In a similar way I'm a bit like you but with Paige. I have seen Paige a lot and I think she is going to be one helluva player even in her frosh year. I am not predicting "greatness' as a frosh but imo she will be damn good. Yet with our number 1 recruit there are posters on here that are more "wait-and-see." They are not wrong. Nor am I by saying I'll just have to wait and see what Mir and AE become. I certainly think it possible for example that AE can become a decent enough or maybe a bit better as a 4/5 as a frosh. But I also think it possible that she isn't very good as a frosh. Not so with Paige imo.
 
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As for number (1) above- on page 2 of this thread it sounded like you want to see trapping all the time. If you didn’t' then fine. Then we have no argument. Some other posters on page 1 and page 2 refer to 10 players too without a caveat of some games they don’t play and/or how many overall minutes do they get. If they agree with you and I then that is fine. But it's clear you are talking 10 players and trapping - and you didn't mention caveats. So you mean under certain situations -- but others they don't play more than likely - okay.

And it's not just this thread. But I can recall other times a poster thinks Geno blew it by not playing Natalie Butler more (that poster told me he doesn't think Geno walks on water- I think he does.). Another poster thinks you win with nothing but defense. Another poster wants to see low scoring defensive battles. She thinks that’s the best way the team should go. The last 3 are examples of "play size no matter what," and "go with defense no matter what." So I don't agree with your number 1. These fans and probably others are looking for fixed type of rotations in some manner believing in heavy defense/pressure/size regardless of offensive play. For example Butler wasn’t playing well at end of that season yet the guy was insistent Geno blew it by not playing her.

As for number (2)-- You and I have gone over #2 at length. Just to reiterate I disagree with your take as what you think as "proof." The defense allowed UCONN to raise its floor so the lesser teams had nearly no little chance to beat them. While you and I agree UCONN could have beaten Oregon, imo it would have had to have bene with offense. If you think UCONN could have stopped Oregon’s' frontline with a soph center and freshman that wasn't a natural PF and a small PF in Walker, and our guards bottling up Sabrina, well I think you're all wrong. I won't elaborate on this any more. That was a fun back-and-forth.

As for number (3) - Sure. But I didn't say otherwise.

As for number (4) -- sure- I hope you are right. But it's okay if I'm a little skeptical, right? I haven't seen them enough. In a similar way I'm a bit like you but with Paige. I have seen Paige a lot and I think she is going to be one helluva player even in her frosh year. I am not predicting "greatness' as a frosh but imo she will be damn good. Yet with our number 1 recruit there are posters on here that are more "wait-and-see." They are not wrong. Nor am I by saying I'll just have to wait and see what Mir and AE become. I certainly think it possible for example that AE can become a decent enough or maybe a bit better as a 4/5 as a frosh. But I also think it possible that she isn't very good as a frosh. Not so with Paige imo.
Number 1- I thought it was understood by basketball junkies that pressing and trapping are usually sporadic. I can see keeping the press on though until the game is in hand against league teams this year which could be by the second quarter. You point out teams that lost by pressing all game but there were teams that won that way. The 1964 and 1965 UCLA NC teams with Goodrich and Hazard and the "40 minutes of Hell" Arkansas NC team just to name 3. Using or not using the press and trap is an art, not a science. Basketball is a fluid game and one size fits all doesn't usually work. Number 2- Our difference in this analysis is that the defense was not an end in itself to Geno, it was a means of revitalizing the offense with player movement and passing. The Top 3 games this year were characterized by poor movement with consequential poor passing and poor shots. The reason I am with you about the never happened Oregon NCAA match up was because I saw what the defense did to the offense, not what the defense could do to Oregon alone. I agree that you were not shutting that team down, you had to outscore them. Number 4- I don't disagree. I just think the Paige focus has resulted in us overlooking these other players who, were it not for Paige, we would be saying how thrilled we were with them all the time. I have watched as much as I could of them and they are really good, each with different skill sets. I just think they are going to earn PT.
 

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I'm wondering where a seven-player rotation in big games comes from (other than history). I don't think there's any drop off between 7 and 9. They're all three excellent defenders and high-energy players. Edwards is a sing/forward, McClean a wing/guard, and Muhl a point guard, so they bring three different skill sets. In any particular game one might be needed more than the others, but I think in general they all have the skills, talents, and motors to contribute in big games. And as pointed out above, it's quite possible we might see Gabriel in for a few minutes in big games when the opponent's big is on the bench.
 
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I'm wondering where a seven-player rotation in big games comes from (other than history). I don't think there's any drop off between 7 and 9. They're all three excellent defenders and high-energy players. Edwards is a sing/forward, McClean a wing/guard, and Muhl a point guard, so they bring three different skill sets. In any particular game one might be needed more than the others, but I think in general they all have the skills, talents, and motors to contribute in big games. And as pointed out above, it's quite possible we might see Gabriel in for a few minutes in big games when the opponent's big is on the bench.
Edwards and Bueckers are the only incoming freshman that will play considerable minutes(15+mpg) this year. I love how hard the other incoming freshman play and they are extremely talented, but they are simply not ready to play major minutes. Muhl has to prove she can consistently knock down a jump shot, McClean has to prove that she can score and rebound against the much bigger Div 1 players, and Gabriel is more of a long term project.

Bueckers 28mpg
Williams 30mpg
Westbrook 30mpg
Edwards 25 mpg
ONO 27mpg

Makurat 24mpg
Griffin 19mpg
McClean 9mpg
Muhl 5mpg
Gabriel 3mpg
 
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Edwards and Bueckers are the only incoming freshman that will play considerable minutes(15+mpg) this year. I love how hard the other incoming freshman play and they are extremely talented, but they are simply not ready to play major minutes. Muhl has to prove she can consistently knock down a jump shot, McClean has to prove that she can score and rebound against the much bigger Div 1 players, and Gabriel is more of a long term project.

Bueckers 28mpg
Williams 30mpg
Westbrook 30mpg
Edwards 25 mpg
ONO 27mpg

Makurat 24mpg
Griffin 19mpg
McClean 9mpg
Muhl 5mpg
Gabriel 3mpg
Geno said Mir is a really hard worker, I think she will surprise some people with how many minutes she will get.
 
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I'm wondering where a seven-player rotation in big games comes from (other than history). I don't think there's any drop off between 7 and 9. They're all three excellent defenders and high-energy players. Edwards is a sing/forward, McClean a wing/guard, and Muhl a point guard, so they bring three different skill sets. In any particular game one might be needed more than the others, but I think in general they all have the skills, talents, and motors to contribute in big games. And as pointed out above, it's quite possible we might see Gabriel in for a few minutes in big games when the opponent's big is on the bench.
If Edwards can play pretty good pf and play backup center then I think the positions you cite from Mir and Nika answer your question why you can go with 7.
 
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The 2016 championship team is interesting as to how this could play out "IF" the freshmen meet or exceed expectations. That team played 9-10 players regularly, with the 10th being borderline {Ekmark}. The starters did not average 30 minutes a game. The first four subs included two future all american's (Gabby and Napheesa) at 6-7, and two players at 7-8 that would be drafted by the WNBA in Butler and Chong. Granted that kind of a bench is very rare and we probably can't expect that level this year, but we might be moving in that direction and next year, maybe particularly if Azzi commits.

What I found interesting, though, is even though the starters were under 30 minutes a game, in the few games that year where it was a contest, they played far more, sometimes upper 30's. In those games Geno still used Gabby and Napheesa, but in essence went with a mostly 7 player rotation.

In most games it was more like 9 and included Butler and Chong on a regular basis. That team dominated so much that the fourth quarter was often turned over to the subs for much of the quarter, which is a big part of why the starters averaged under 30 minutes.

So that season suggests if the bench players are good enough (probably better than the other teams starters) then Geno will (reluctantly) go 9 deep in most games, but at the same time in the tough games rely on his starters more and reduce the rotation to maybe 7.

While I would like to see the deep rotation and feel it might be a good strategy, I realize that Geno if anything leans the other way. He does it when he is very confident of the outcome. When he isn't, he is more likely to ride a tired starter than even a talented and fresh substitute.
 
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Edwards and Bueckers are the only incoming freshman that will play considerable minutes(15+mpg) this year. I love how hard the other incoming freshman play and they are extremely talented, but they are simply not ready to play major minutes. Muhl has to prove she can consistently knock down a jump shot, McClean has to prove that she can score and rebound against the much bigger Div 1 players, and Gabriel is more of a long term project.

Bueckers 28mpg
Williams 30mpg
Westbrook 30mpg
Edwards 25 mpg
ONO 27mpg

Makurat 24mpg
Griffin 19mpg
McClean 9mpg
Muhl 5mpg
Gabriel 3mpg
I agree whole-heartedly! Thanks for posting your expectations!!

Your numbers for minutes show the 7 - 8 player rotation as IMHO ten-ish minutes means historically that you have earned time in the game when the game is being decided {"significant" minutes}. For McLean {spelling on UCONN WBB site} to have 9-ish minutes/game, she would be in the "rotation" in most games. My only slight disagreement is that I believe Nika Muhl will be earning double digit minutes in the second half of the {new} Big East games. The five minutes may be contained to the early OOC portion of the schedule. I think the additional minutes will be one minute each from C. Williams, E. Westbrook, A. Makurat, A. Griffin, & P. Gabriel.
The double-digit minutes show that it will mainly be a seven player "rotation" in close games. Yes, that is also a historical perspective, and I AM looking forward to seeing Geno & CD surprising me with all of combinations possible with this extremely talented group of women!
 
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I agree whole-heartedly! Thanks for posting your expectations!!

Your numbers for minutes show the 7 - 8 player rotation as IMHO ten-ish minutes means historically that you have earned time in the game when the game is being decided {"significant" minutes}. For McLean {spelling on UCONN WBB site} to have 9-ish minutes/game, she would be in the "rotation" in most games. My only slight disagreement is that I believe Nika Muhl will be earning double digit minutes in the second half of the {new} Big East games. The five minutes may be contained to the early OOC portion of the schedule. I think the additional minutes will be one minute each from C. Williams, E. Westbrook, A. Makurat, A. Griffin, & P. Gabriel.
The double-digit minutes show that it will mainly be a seven player "rotation" in close games. Yes, that is also a historical perspective, and I AM looking forward to seeing Geno & CD surprising me with all of combinations possible with this extremely talented group of women!
The 9-ish minutes for McLean & Muhl will show the nine player rotation in multiple games where the result is fairly well decided early, so the other freshmen can get experience with 3 or 4 of the usual starters. This is necessary for the contingency that they will be needed in the NCAA tournament due to unforeseen issues.
 
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Edwards and Bueckers are the only incoming freshman that will play considerable minutes(15+mpg) this year. I love how hard the other incoming freshman play and they are extremely talented, but they are simply not ready to play major minutes. Muhl has to prove she can consistently knock down a jump shot, McClean has to prove that she can score and rebound against the much bigger Div 1 players, and Gabriel is more of a long term project.

Bueckers 28mpg
Williams 30mpg
Westbrook 30mpg
Edwards 25 mpg
ONO 27mpg

Makurat 24mpg
Griffin 19mpg
McClean 9mpg
Muhl 5mpg
Gabriel 3mpg
Edwards and Bueckers are the only incoming freshman that will play considerable minutes(15+mpg) this year. I love how hard the other incoming freshman play and they are extremely talented, but they are simply not ready to play major minutes. Muhl has to prove she can consistently knock down a jump shot, McClean has to prove that she can score and rebound against the much bigger Div 1 players, and Gabriel is more of a long term project.

Bueckers 28mpg
Williams 30mpg
Westbrook 30mpg
Edwards 25 mpg
ONO 27mpg

Makurat 24mpg
Griffin 19mpg
McClean 9mpg
Muhl 5mpg
Gabriel 3mpg
I can't agree with the minutes at all. Aubrey averaged about 17 minutes a game last year. You think she gets 2 more minutes a game as a very experienced sophomore with her overall performance and doesn't start? No way. She is the kind of player you want on the court. She makes things happen both on defense and offense. Edwards subs in for her first or sometimes Liv depending on the score, the other team, and who is playing well. I also think Anna starts and giving her less minutes than Edwards makes no sense to me. Once again, an experienced player who knows the systems with great vision, a microwave 3 point shot at times, and great basketball team sense isn't going to get less minutes than Edwards. She may be the most important player on offense for this team we regard to being the focal point for the offense moving and scoring. I don't see Paige starting right away either but that conversation was had in another thread. I think the numbers averaged for Nika and Piath will be higher and Geno loves good defenders which Mir is so maybe that is close but if there is a regular rotation which was discussed previously, you will see higher averages. In the big games, I still think it is 7, not because that is a magic number but because your first 7 players we all seem to agree on are stronger at least on the basis of what we know now and Geno plays those games close to the vest.
 
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I can't agree with the minutes at all. Aubrey averaged about 17 minutes a game last year. You think she gets 2 more minutes a game as a very experienced sophomore with her overall performance and doesn't start? No way. She is the kind of player you want on the court. She makes things happen both on defense and offense. Edwards subs in for her first or sometimes Liv depending on the score, the other team, and who is playing well. I also think Anna starts and giving her less minutes than Edwards makes no sense to me. Once again, an experienced player who knows the systems with great vision, a microwave 3 point shot at times, and great basketball team sense isn't going to get less minutes than Edwards. She may be the most important player on offense for this team we regard to being the focal point for the offense moving and scoring. I don't see Paige starting right away either but that conversation was had in another thread. I think the numbers averaged for Nika and Piath will be higher and Geno loves good defenders which Mir is so maybe that is close but if there is a regular rotation which was discussed previously, you will see higher averages. In the big games, I still think it is 7, not because that is a magic number but because your first 7 players we all seem to agree on are stronger at least on the basis of what we know now and Geno plays those games close to the vest.
You have convinced me. Swap Griffin for Edwards; put Griffin at 23 mins, Edwards at 20 mins, final answer until after the first five games.... when we actually have data to "consume" and analyze with joy and excitement of actually knowing that the season is on!
 
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The beauty of the move {back} to the {new} Big East is that there will be eight teams near the top 100 [based on the 3/12/2020 RPI [I know it is being replaced, but it is the only evidence to compare at the moment]], as Butler was #101, Villanova #84 (new coach (D. Dillon) from Drexel was a player for them 1992-1996), Seton Hall #63, St. John's #58, Creighton #51, Marquette #23, and DePaul #18 (UCONN was #4). AAC will only have three: UCF #37, U Cincy #61, and USF #69. This should help with being able to get the 8th, 9th, and 10th best players experience against reasonably good teams during the conference schedule (twenty games). Only Providence #187, Georgetown #256, and Xavier #270 were outside the top 175 teams.
 
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I can't agree with the minutes at all. Aubrey averaged about 17 minutes a game last year. You think she gets 2 more minutes a game as a very experienced sophomore with her overall performance and doesn't start? No way. She is the kind of player you want on the court. She makes things happen both on defense and offense. Edwards subs in for her first or sometimes Liv depending on the score, the other team, and who is playing well. I also think Anna starts and giving her less minutes than Edwards makes no sense to me. Once again, an experienced player who knows the systems with great vision, a microwave 3 point shot at times, and great basketball team sense isn't going to get less minutes than Edwards. She may be the most important player on offense for this team we regard to being the focal point for the offense moving and scoring. I don't see Paige starting right away either but that conversation was had in another thread. I think the numbers averaged for Nika and Piath will be higher and Geno loves good defenders which Mir is so maybe that is close but if there is a regular rotation which was discussed previously, you will see higher averages. In the big games, I still think it is 7, not because that is a magic number but because your first 7 players we all seem to agree on are stronger at least on the basis of what we know now and Geno plays those games close to the vest.
Well, you are certainly entitled to your own opinion, no matter how incorrect it is. We NEED to be able to rebound the ball, that doesn't happen with Makurat or Griffin starting at the #4! Griffin managed 5rpg last season, but a large % of those were longer rebounds from the #3 position. The loss of Walker at the #4 needs to be addressed and Edwards is the only in my opinion that can consistently rebound in that position.
 
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I can't agree with the minutes at all. Aubrey averaged about 17 minutes a game last year. You think she gets 2 more minutes a game as a very experienced sophomore with her overall performance and doesn't start? No way. She is the kind of player you want on the court. She makes things happen both on defense and offense. Edwards subs in for her first or sometimes Liv depending on the score, the other team, and who is playing well. I also think Anna starts and giving her less minutes than Edwards makes no sense to me. Once again, an experienced player who knows the systems with great vision, a microwave 3 point shot at times, and great basketball team sense isn't going to get less minutes than Edwards. She may be the most important player on offense for this team we regard to being the focal point for the offense moving and scoring. I don't see Paige starting right away either but that conversation was had in another thread. I think the numbers averaged for Nika and Piath will be higher and Geno loves good defenders which Mir is so maybe that is close but if there is a regular rotation which was discussed previously, you will see higher averages. In the big games, I still think it is 7, not because that is a magic number but because your first 7 players we all seem to agree on are stronger at least on the basis of what we know now and Geno plays those games close to the vest.
Aubrey's minutes are relatively straightforward. If her offense improves, likely will be +/- 25 minutes per game. If similar to last year, she will remain the first or second off the bench, likely in the 15-18 mpg range. Without a more consistent offensive game, unlikely to see her playing time improve.
 
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Well, you are certainly entitled to your own opinion, no matter how incorrect it is. We NEED to be able to rebound the ball, that doesn't happen with Makurat or Griffin starting at the #4! Griffin managed 5rpg last season, but a large % of those were longer rebounds from the #3 position. The loss of Walker at the #4 needs to be addressed and Edwards is the only in my opinion that can consistently rebound in that position.
Well 5rpg in like 15-17 minutes is not bad and that could become 8 or more with starter minutes. Don't forget about her offensive rbs for put backs. And I don't think you can compare her rbs to Walker's. They had different roles on the court so neither one of them would have the same type of stats.
 
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Well, you are certainly entitled to your own opinion, no matter how incorrect it is. We NEED to be able to rebound the ball, that doesn't happen with Makurat or Griffin starting at the #4! Griffin managed 5rpg last season, but a large % of those were longer rebounds from the #3 position. The loss of Walker at the #4 needs to be addressed and Edwards is the only in my opinion that can consistently rebound in that position.
I never said Anna plays the 4. I think that is a terrible move because it take the ball out of her hands on the break or in transition where she is at her best and will give her constant foul trouble. I don't see her as athletic enough to play down low. For argument's sake, make Aubrey's minutes the same as Meg's last year and she averages 10.8 boards a game making her the leading rebounder on the team. Meg finished with an 8.4 average. Aubrey is also unquestionably the best on ball defender on the team. She was second on the team in total steals, only 8 behind Crystal while playing less than half her minutes, second on the team in blocks and here is the most important stat- second on the team in free throw attempts with 93( behind Meg by only two) in her limited time. As you know most of them were due to put backs or steals on rebounds. If AE is that good as a freshman that she gets the starting nod over the 6th man on the #4 team in the country last year I can only say that is a very nice problem for Geno to have. In general, I think Aubrey is being undervalued and I think it is probably due to her offensive game last year. We talked about the Seton Hall game as a counter point but what the about the AAC semis? 16 points and 16 rebounds, a symmetrical double double. She is probably in the gym every day now with her brothers and/or father working on her offense and strength and I firmly believe we will see the "New Griff" in October. The fact that we are having this discussion is noteworthy in and of itself. A choice at the 4 position? What a novel dilemma.
 
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I never said Anna plays the 4. I think that is a terrible move because it take the ball out of her hands on the break or in transition where she is at her best and will give her constant foul trouble. I don't see her as athletic enough to play down low. For argument's sake, make Aubrey's minutes the same as Meg's last year and she averages 10.8 boards a game making her the leading rebounder on the team. Meg finished with an 8.4 average. Aubrey is also unquestionably the best on ball defender on the team. She was second on the team in total steals, only 8 behind Crystal while playing less than half her minutes, second on the team in blocks and here is the most important stat- second on the team in free throw attempts with 93( behind Meg by only two) in her limited time. As you know most of them were due to put backs or steals on rebounds. If AE is that good as a freshman that she gets the starting nod over the 6th man on the #4 team in the country last year I can only say that is a very nice problem for Geno to have. In general, I think Aubrey is being undervalued and I think it is probably due to her offensive game last year. We talked about the Seton Hall game as a counter point but what the about the AAC semis? 16 points and 16 rebounds, a symmetrical double double. She is probably in the gym every day now with her brothers and/or father working on her offense and strength and I firmly believe we will see the "New Griff" in October. The fact that we are having this discussion is noteworthy in and of itself. A choice at the 4 position? What a novel dilemma.
I fully agree with you with the "New Griff" and I do not see a problem with having her in the game with ONO and ANY three of the other guards (which according to the UCONN WBB page includes Aaliyah Edwards). It would be pretty cool to watch Paige, Evina & Aaliyah/Anna/Nika/C Will/Mir (could even have three PGs in at the same time) at the 3-point arc and Aubrey & ONO crashing the boards. The speed of the team will also be something to behold as fast breaks that don't need a single dribble could be the order of the day.
Passing is going to be crisp. Kind of like the UCONN-South Carolina (SPOILER ALERT: 25 point victory!!!!) highlights that I saw from Stewie, Mo Jeff & Tuck's Junior year, with KML as a senior, & Kia Nurse as a freshman that put UCONN back to #1 in the country all the way to NC #10.
This year, offensive (& defensive) rebounds will be the forte of both ONO and Aubrey Griffin, as both have family that will assist them through the summer to be able to start the season better than they ended the last season. Neither of the women or their immediate family members are, or were, EVER afraid of hard work!!!! Rebounds, blocks, and steals will fill the stats sheets for these two. I don't believe points will be a problem for them either.
 

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