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USF game thoughts

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I must admit, I'm afraid to read some of the game threads. It was a game that just begs the glass-half-empty folks from crapping all over our team.

Prelude: Ugly win = a win. Not a bad outcome for BE game #1. I'll take it.

Let's start with the ridiculously obvious: Lamb can really score. Lamb needs to shoot it a heck of a lot more often. Add the first to the 2nd point and you get a load of scoring. How about the team run more plays to get him more good looks? How about he take a few more highly contested shots since that doesn't seem to stop him from scoring?

Bazz had a bad game - Ugly Box (1-9, 1-6 3pts, 4 assists, 2 TOs...) Not worried! If he shoots it like he has most of the season, we coast to an easy double digit win. It was a very sloppy game and the PG play didn't seem to lead the team toward better execution. There were some good moments, but for the most part I thought we made USF look a lot better than they actually are.

FT shooting - If they shoot FTs like this against a better team, increment the number in the loss column by 1. They missed 9 of 'em and at least one was the front end of a 1-and-1 leaving even more points at the line.

TOs & Assists - I was surprised to see that they only had 13 TOs, but some of them were butt ugly. Add that to the fact that only 6 of their 21 FGs came way of the assist tells you something about the offensive execution. Way too much pounding the ball and not enough pass-catch-pass-etc. It was pass-dribble the h*ll out of the ball-pass it again-dribble the h*ll out of the ball again-then create some shot off the dribble as the clock comes to a close. How about moving the ball around via the pass once-in-a-while? They moved the ball via the pass very well earlier in the season and have slowly digressed in that area. I'd like to see the staff work on their ball movement during practice and have them carry it over to games. They have some good passers on the team. The problem some of our guards pound it way too much.

6 FGs between 4 Bigs - Between AD (2-5), AO (2-6), TO (2-3) & RS (0-3) our bigs managed to convert just 6 FGs. It's not like USF had a daunting front court. Our bigs have a ways to go, but I'm not too worried. They'll get better. They have to, don't they?

PG play and The Boat Show - RB got his first taste of BE play and had some nice moments and some shaky ones. 4-6, just one assist and 3 TOs. USF's PG Collins was quite the pest (5 stls), but not much of a scorer (1-7, 4 pts). Good thing UConn plays pretty tough D and USF doesn't shoot it very well.

With all this said, I'm not worried. If JC was on the side line, I think They win this by plenty. They survived game #1 w/out JC. Two to go. Good think they're not starting with SU, UL & GU or some other 3 team combination of top BE teams. Once JC returns, I expect this team to continue to get better and better. A lot of ball to be played. Look at it this way. They played worse than tonight late last season and still managed to cut down the nets. I think we have the field just where we want them. ;)
 
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"Prelude: Ugly win = a win." OP

I share that sentiment. Simple and to the point. EOM
 
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Well, that was the first TV-screamer of the year lol
 
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I'm sorta glad my mom roped me into birthday celebrations rather than watching the game. I'm glad a win is a win...but geesh...sounds like it was an...interesting...game. 11-1 - not many teams can say that though.

Also, while everyone complains the hell out of AO - we live and die by Shabazz Napier this year. I think most of the tight games that we've had (in terms of nailbiting factor) correlates to how poorly Bazz plays. Sometimes I think he has a biggest ego and tries to get too fancy with the bounce passes or alley-oops or passing when he has a wide open layup, etc. He's still a sophomore and this is his first year really having significant time at the point. He, like Kemba had to, needs to learn how to control the game and turn off that "fancy" switch when the team needs to buckle down and play hard. He doesn't need to subdue it in general...he just needs to know when the fancy stuff is appropriate and when it isn't.
 

nelsonmuntz

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My thoughts:

1) Blaney is completely predictable as a coach. The team ran the same sets on both ends the entire game, and didn't make a single adjustment that I could see. UConn's greatest strength is its depth and the number of different looks we can throw at a team. Why were we playing 3 guards against USF's 3 guards when USF's big men were carrying the team? Get Smith, Oriakhi and Daniels out there, and wear their front court out. USF had absolutely no matchup for Smith or Daniels, so get them the ball more. Blaney does a lot of good things for this program, but I would much rather have Ollie calling plays and making substitutions. Ollie can't be any worse.

2) Related to 1 above, the team didn't run or press. If UConn is just going to take turns playing offense instead of forcing the pace, the Huskies are very beatable. Blaney seems to coach to the other team's strength.

3) The box score doesn't show it, but I thought Boatwright was terrible defensively last night. If Collins was a little more experienced and hit a few more open shots, we would have had a problem, because Collins could beat Boatwright pretty much any time he wanted. Boatwright completely loses contact with his man if he is picked, and seemed to get off balance when he was playing on-the-ball D, so that his guy could just blow by him. Happened 3-4 times last night. Boatwright is fun to watch, but there are several experienced players that are more athletic and better defensively than Boatwright on this team. Why is he playing so much? 20+ minute games should be the exception with Boatwright, not the rule.

4) Napier is the most important player on the team, but he is going to have nights like last night with the way he plays. He takes a lot of low percentage shots and gambles too much on both ends. Khalid used to do the same thing, and with the talent we have, it is unnecessary.

5) Some players seem to be regressing a bit, which is the most troubling of anything. The last time that happened was 2010.

A win is a win, especially in a season like this one, and I honestly was never worried at any point of the game. I also think game coaching was the biggest problem last night.
 

Edward Sargent

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You didn't see Blaney's lineup changes as adjustments? I thought he made some pretty good adjustments going with a quicker smaller lineup.
 

nelsonmuntz

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You didn't see Blaney's lineup changes as adjustments? I thought he made some pretty good adjustments going with a quicker smaller lineup.

Wetzel kept saying that on the broadcast, but UConn plays a smaller, quicker lineup every game. That is the standard for UConn, not an adjustment. When the other team is a) trying to grind the game to a halt, and b) getting most of their offense from the two big guys they have on the court, the adjustments would be figuring out a way to dictate the tempo and throwing more big guys at USF.

When Stan Heath is dictating tempo to you, you know you have a problem on the bench.
 

Edward Sargent

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Wetzel is a putz. This is the first time he has seen UCONN all year and he certainly did not see a lineup of Boatright, Napier, Lamb, Daniels/Roscoe and TO. That was the adjustment and the putz did mention it as an adjustment
 
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Drawing conclusions after only one league game is always dangerous; however, this was a disappointing effort. I offer one major caveat, this was the first game that USF had their lineup. They have a lot of transfers and new players, so maybe part of the apparent problem is that USF is quite a bit better than they have appeared so far this season. Still this game was marked by an excessive number of mental blunders by UConn.

On balance, a road win in the Big East cannot be considered a negative. On the question of the grand failure of Blaney as a game manager, let it be noted that Lamb stated he was told to stop trying to create off the dribble and work more coming off screens. He complimented the bigs for setting good screens. The defense was noticeably better in the second half. USF wouldn't go away, and UConn helped by making some foolish mental mistakes and missing freethrows. Lamb had an excellent game, but that foul of a 3 point shooter as the clock approached 00:00 was a classic bonehead play.

If one is trying to use this game a key predictive element in future performance, that is premature to say the least. However, to ignore the problems in the teams performance last night is just as wrong headed.

aka zymurg
 
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My thoughts:

1) Blaney is completely predictable as a coach. The team ran the same sets on both ends the entire game, and didn't make a single adjustment that I could see. UConn's greatest strength is its depth and the number of different looks we can throw at a team. Why were we playing 3 guards against USF's 3 guards when USF's big men were carrying the team? Get Smith, Oriakhi and Daniels out there, and wear their front court out. USF had absolutely no matchup for Smith or Daniels, so get them the ball more. Blaney does a lot of good things for this program, but I would much rather have Ollie calling plays and making substitutions. Ollie can't be any worse.

2) Related to 1 above, the team didn't run or press. If UConn is just going to take turns playing offense instead of forcing the pace, the Huskies are very beatable. Blaney seems to coach to the other team's strength.

3) The box score doesn't show it, but I thought Boatwright was terrible defensively last night. If Collins was a little more experienced and hit a few more open shots, we would have had a problem, because Collins could beat Boatwright pretty much any time he wanted. Boatwright completely loses contact with his man if he is picked, and seemed to get off balance when he was playing on-the-ball D, so that his guy could just blow by him. Happened 3-4 times last night. Boatwright is fun to watch, but there are several experienced players that are more athletic and better defensively than Boatwright on this team. Why is he playing so much? 20+ minute games should be the exception with Boatwright, not the rule.

4) Napier is the most important player on the team, but he is going to have nights like last night with the way he plays. He takes a lot of low percentage shots and gambles too much on both ends. Khalid used to do the same thing, and with the talent we have, it is unnecessary.

5) Some players seem to be regressing a bit, which is the most troubling of anything. The last time that happened was 2010.

A win is a win, especially in a season like this one, and I honestly was never worried at any point of the game. I also think game coaching was the biggest problem last night.
FYI...because your basketball acumen and personality falls into the category of the paranoid U.S citizen who was just busted a few months ago in connection with a 567-kilogram seizure of coke worth $77 Mill and time is of the essence...I will leave you with this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCQSpzjHxpQ

Very Truly Yours,
Ryan Boatright Advocate:p
 
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I was actaully impressed with how we played. Sure, the first few minutes were rough, but overall we played with energy, and showed a tremendous amount of poise. The last five minutes of the game, which is where many games are won or lost, belonged to us. I also thought we showed improvement as a team. We did all this while many of our key players were not having a great game individually.

Another bright spot was Daniels. He showed improvement and increased confidence. Did he make mistakes? Sure, but I liked his overall effort and his confidence took a step forward. His ball handling was also better than it had been.

USF is a good team, has a tradition of playing us tough, and we were on the road. We'll get better as a result of this game.
 
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went to the game, nice UConn contingent there, shocked that almost no USF fans were there, 5k ppl for a big east opener against the reigning national champions??? Joke.

It was a grind out game but the ball movement, particularly from the inside out was almost non-existent.
 

Waquoit

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I don't get the Wetzel hate. I thought he had an excellent handle on the game.
 
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I haven't seen it mentioned much, but I thought UConn's defense was good. I think we take that aspect for granted whenever the team has a sub-par offensive showing. Collins showed a ton of poise out there for USF and it was a good thing that he hasn't developed a jump shot yet. They were really disciplined out there with the ball, but UConn played tight defense and forced a lot of tough shots.

Regarding the offense, I don't think it was terrible outside of the first few minutes. There were four turnovers on the first five possessions and only nine more after that. The early turnover problem seems to be ameliorating, which bodes well for the rest of the season.

UConn was never going to score a ton of points because USF was never going to let them fast break. I do think UConn could've come closer to 70 if establishing AO early wasn't such a priority. He had six expensive first half points due to turnovers. JL and AD are the two most efficient scorers and that's who UConn needs to look to from the get-go. I also thought USF's good defense had a lot to do with UConn's tough offensive game.

This team is still figuring out roles on offense (and how to use picks!), but if they defend like the did last night they'll be in a position to win a lot of their games.
 

OkaForPrez

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Interior D was good, Perimeter D seemed lacking.
 
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I missed most of the game because my son was up vomiting, which is what I may have done had I been watching.
 
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Interior D was good, Perimeter D seemed lacking.

Yes, I think that with a rotation of 4 Cs and PFs, UConn can afford to guard the perimeter and to funnel players inside.

Offense plays a key role with this however since the team needs one more scoring threat, preferably Daniels. That would take some pressure off our bigs to score which would prevent them from picking up the kind of ticky-tack fouls that lead to them being less aggressive on D.
 
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All in all, that was a good opening road win. The team played well down the stretch, and had they made a few more foul shots, this could have been an eight to ten point win. They stepped it up on the offensive boards in the second half, and held USF to 28%- 3pt shooting in the second half, with one of the two 3 pointers coming at the buzzer when it was meaningless. Blaney had some nice adjustments in the second half- the 3 guard line-up, already mentioned, and putting in Roscoe at the end for AD. Roscoe was promptly fouled and made both shots. He also made 2 foul shots at the end of the first half for UConn's first lead.
This has been historically a tough place for UConn to play, and they held their own against a team that was undefeated at home. USF gave it their best shot, and UConn held on. To me, that's what this team is supposed to do.
 
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Our running game stunk. Can't blame that on Blaney. When the team is unable to execute a three-on-one, when Boatright and Bazz are both stripped on breaks, tough to blame the bench. We really need to clean up our running game.
 

OkaForPrez

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Maybe so, I can picture several poor close outs in my head but not which half they occurred in. To upstater's point though, I'd much rather see us be over aggressive and go over the top of screens and force the penetration then let a big east guard or wing take a shot they put up 1,000 times in practice with the slightest bit of breathing room. Boatright, Napier and Lamb were all going underneath the high screen.

Yes, I think that with a rotation of 4 Cs and PFs, UConn can afford to guard the perimeter and to funnel players inside.

Offense plays a key role with this however since the team needs one more scoring threat, preferably Daniels. That would take some pressure off our bigs to score which would prevent them from picking up the kind of ticky-tack fouls that lead to them being less aggressive on D.
 
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We tend to over-help as well. Sometimes it feels like our post defenders have the situation under control and our perimeter defenders are sagging into the paint all over the place when they don't need to. Then our recovery out to the perimeter looks like a Chinese fire drill where two guys are rushing at the same player, someone else is wide open, etc. That's one thing that we need to tighten up with defensively over the next few months.
 
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We tend to over-help as well. Sometimes it feels like our post defenders have the situation under control and our perimeter defenders are sagging into the paint all over the place when they don't need to. Then our recovery out to the perimeter looks like a Chinese fire drill where two guys are rushing at the same player, someone else is wide open, etc. That's one thing that we need to tighten up with defensively over the next few months.

Great observation. I don't see why AO or AD would ever need double team help on the blocks. With TO, I say let it play out for a while before you start throwing double teams his way. If TO cannot handle his man than either make a sub or than start with the sagging help D.
 
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Sorry while boat was not real good his defense was pretty good and drove #5 nuts a few times when he had the ball. in case you didnt notice collins got by everyone who guard him or tried. I thought the old rutgers coach wentzel made a great point in the fact we olayed collins too close from too far away. He is an awful shooter and no threat whatsoever out there so give him space and take the drive away.
 
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Great observation. I don't see why AO or AD would ever need double team help on the blocks. With TO, I say let it play out for a while before you start throwing double teams his way. If TO cannot handle his man than either make a sub or than start with the sagging help D.

Noted that related type comment made in Georgetown vs. Louisville game where one of announcers said a big factor in winning was Georgetown didn't over help on Siva's drives late in game so he had to make/take hard shots rather than get passes out to open jump shots. Not sure why seems like opponents drives give Uconn much more problems re switching and opponents getting to the rim than other way around. Maybe I'm being too critical of Uconn (remembering all the Uconn bad plays and not the good), but sure seems that way.
 
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