Takes from Villanova game



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I think most of us came away from that game thinking we had our chances, and let one slip away. My take is we are as good as Villanova, but they are better coached. I say that because every player on the Villanova team utilizes ball fakes, and misdirection jab steps to create space and an advantage. You don't see that often with our players at all. I counted 14 Villanova 1st half points created by spacing the floor and isolating back downs in the lane. I watched Villanova players backing down, head faking, pivoting, more ball fakes, leaning in, drawing fouls, or making easy lay-ups. There was not a single time a UConn player dropped down to help. I know you are going to say if we do that they will kick out for an open 3. So you make a choice as a coach. Give up and one's and or easy layups, or a good look at a three. Villanova was abusing us the same way all game making 80% or better on back downs, if they hit 50% of three's on kick-outs, it is a better option. There comes a point if you can't stop something, you try something else. That try never came. Our offense simply lacks shooters. When you have a potential lottery pick on the floor, in what was his biggest game in a UConn uniform, a chance to carry the mail, James Bouknight simply didn't deliver. He went 0-9 over a game period of well over 20 minutes, finally hitting a meaningless 3 at the end. He also had 5 turnovers. We just can't win games against a top 10 team with one of the best players in the country tanking his biggest game in a UConn uniform. We just don't have the poise and shooters down the stretch to win. Villanova made adjustments in the 2nd half and shut us down completely. It's heartbreaking to watch, because the talent is there, what has been an issue, as we all know too well, we need shooters! My feelings about Hurley are led by his ability to recruit the level of players we need to get back to being a top 25 team every year. I give him kudos for being that guy. Where the jury remains questionable to me is his in-game coaching and adjustments or lack thereof. How many times do they create isolations in the lane and back down or 1-1 defender, and do nothing to mitigate it? It killed us, and it also got us in foul trouble. Painful loss.
 
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Agree with most everything you pointed out well done. I said pre-game we will see the guards take our guards deep, ball fake and try to use their bodies one on one to create scoring opportunities. I also said we need to STAY ON OUR FEET, not jump to block shots but use our length to make them shoot over us or pass out. When our guys stayed on the floor they passed it out or missed tougher shots. When we jumped they either scored or went the the FT after ball faking them into oblivion. Not sure why they weren't well prepared for exactly that or if they were, why they just aren't smart enough to take it from practice to the game? Either way it their guards killed us in backing down and penetration. Add to it they are now Duke so even if you go straight up defensively they will bore into you making the stripes call in even if incorrect.

Loss was very painful to me as well, they just aren;t that good and even with the whining we're doing they only got 68 while living at the line. We should've been able to score the ball on them even with Bouk as a decoy. Tough to go from tourney back to hanging with Stanford and Utah State.
 
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It’s not about always getting guys that can jump over the moon. Nova has guys that can pump fake, back down and get the layup or get fouled then make the actual foul shot. Do we have that? That’s a recruiting problem, but Hurley is working with what he’s got and he’s getting good players, just not all are Jay Wright level yet.
 
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This is a major problem, and it isn't a secret, here are 5 players on our roster and their shooting percentages. These 5 players combine to average 111 minutes a game on the court. They account for over 45% of the shots we take. Adams (.306), has been replaced mostly by Jackson (.385)

Cole .366
Polley .374
Gaffney .365
Adams .306
Jackson .385

You simply can't have the bulk of a team's minutes (111 out of 200 on average), with 5 players shooting from .306 to .385. If these were FG percentages from beyond the arc they would be bad! This is what they are shooting including layups.

I love Bouknight, he is such a talented kid with a great future, but if he is going to find success at the next level, his shooting has to improve by a lot. He is a career .339 on 115 shots from 3. That is a shorter distance than the NBA, so that translates to even worse. He certainly at this stage of his career an answer for us from deep.

Despite all these shortcomings, we are not dead yet. We are 10-6, and our margin for error getting into the dance is smaller. I really think at this point we have to sweep our final 4 games and get to 14-6. We will need a win in the tournament so 15-7. That will have us in the conversation at least. It will depend on how teams on a crowded bubble do as well. I don't think a 3-1 finish and a 13-7 mark does it. If that is the case we will need at least 2 tourney wins to get to 15-8. That is still a bubble team. I still believe this team can get there, and the experience would be huge, and needed. Let's hope we have the resolve to get it done.
 
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It’s not about always getting guys that can jump over the moon. Nova has guys that can pump fake, back down and get the layup or get fouled then make the actual foul shot. Do we have that? That’s a recruiting problem, but Hurley is working with what he’s got and he’s getting good players, just not all are Jay Wright level yet.

It isn't a recruiting problem, it is a coaching/teaching problem. Every player on their team can fake, and use misdirection jab steps and create an advantage. Did you count the misdirection jab steps on the baseline? That team is well-coached, and they execute.
 
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Well its also an experience thing. Nova is playing upper classman and a couple sophomores. Our most talented guys are all freshmen and sophomores, and a bunch of them have missed significant time with injuries. Gotta get to the point where more of Hurley's recruits are upperclassman.
 
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I have one question for those that watched Villanova backing us down in the lane. If Calhoun was coaching after the first time it happened there would have been an immediate time out, and it would have stopped immediately. If it didn't someone else would be in the game. It isn't like this strategy took place in an instant. It was a strategy. When it happened the player would be backing our defenders down, and it took 7-8 seconds to complete. Not a single time did we drop down and help - not once. What can a coach and assistants be thinking. That's ok we are getting beat every time, we will just sit and watch it? I wish a reporter would have asked that question because in a close game, that made the difference.
 

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