Where We Are Through a Wider Lens



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A little perspective. I just looked at the KenPoms. We rank 33rd in the country in defensive efficiency. We rank 159th in the country in offensive efficiency. We are more than good enough defensively to be an NCAA team. People need to give the coaches, and the players, credit for that. It is not an easy thing to turn around, and the last three games they have worked their butts off -- effectively -- on the defensive end. The two most important players defensively are Gilbert, pressuring the opponent's point, and Akok altering all kinds of shots inside.

Obviously, we are not adequate offensively. 6 more points a game will make us as good a team as anyone in our conference heading into our conference tournament. Where do we get those extra points a game with our currently very limited offensively roster. Because we're not making Gilbert taller or Carlton more explosive or Vital a better dribbler over the next month. I have three thoughts.

1. Just shoot better. Gilbert has to make foul shots. Vital has to shoot 3s like he did last year, or Bouk or Adams has to make 3s like they did before conference play started. Just 2 or 3 more points a game from people hitting more of the same shots we're getting would make a huge difference. This is about confidence and practice. The players have to get this done.

2. Especially with Polley out, and with all the offensive limitations we have, we have to make more of an effort to get Carlton the ball down low. Is he limited? Heck yes. Is he maddeningly frustrating? Yes. But with Polley out, and our limitations we have to see if he can either score, like he did against Nova, or even just draw fouls and double teams like he did in a poor performance against Wichita State. We are too limited to give up on this. And Whalley was great last night, and give him every chance to do this again, but even if he can give us what he gave us last night consistently (and I'll be surprised if he can) he's not a back to the basket draw help player and this team needs that.

3. We have to ride Bouk's talents more in the minutes he can give us before foul trouble, and to do that with as few offensive weapons as we have we have to adjust our offense for him. It's fine to have Vital run around picks out wide because him getting an open pop from 3 is an option. Bouk needs to attack the rim, and he seems to be much more effective going downhill to the rim then attacking from wide. Get him the ball off movement in isolation at the top of the key and let him try to attack.

We're not far away. Losing sucks but we can't have back games that have gotten away. The last 3 games we're doing everything as well as the good teams in the American except winning. Time to find the tweaks, and time for some players to hit some jumpers and free throws.
 
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Increased offense will come from one of two places -- Bouknight or Akok.

As for where we are as a program under this regime, I think Hurley has made many improvements since the Cincy/USF debacles in terms of how the offense is run, how he substitutes, and how he manages the game. We still are inept at the end of games. We know that a lot of this is related to the limitations of our players, but I think he needs to run something that has less of a chance of ending in a wild drive from Gilbert or Vital. He went from using an iso/high ball screen in late game situations to running a weave, but it's time to move on from that as well.

If we are still struggling to close next year, I'll start to get concerned.
 
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We play great defense. No question. We just need the offense to polish up and complimenting the current crop of freshman + Brendan adams next season with the likes of Andre Jackson and RJ Cole will totally change the offensive shape next season. Having a 5 of Cole/Bouk/Akok/Jackson and whoever plays the 5 will see a completely different offensive approach considering we will have a good shooter in Cole, improved shooting in Bouk and Akok, and slashing of Bouk/Jackson.
 
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I agree with everything that BL said, but I would add one more thing.

In my opinion, our biggest problem is closing. We don't have enough winning plays at the end of games, so we can't win close games. Hurley and the team need to figure out a better end of game strategy if they can. UConn really doesn't have an alpha offensive player that we can count on down the stretch. Consequently, Gilbert tries to do too much at the end of games and he ends up turning the ball over too much.

Put Jalen Adams on this team and UConn is dancing this year.
 
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I agree with everything that BL said, but I would add one more thing.

In my opinion, our biggest problem is closing. We don't have enough winning plays at the end of games, so we can't win close games. Hurley and the team need to figure out a better end of game strategy if they can. UConn really doesn't have an alpha offensive player that we can count on down the stretch. Consequently, Gilbert tries to do too much at the end of games and he ends up turning the ball over too much.
I'm gonna be honest. I don't think Gilbert WANTS to be the end game guy. But if you notice something at the end of these games, everyone of our players struggle to get open because the opposition defense play up to your rear end defense. I noticed this yesterday especially when everyone was getting closely guarded and it was very very difficult for someone the size of Gilbert to find something. Towards the last 2-3 minutes the Houston defense played their best D all night and it showed.
 
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I agree with everything that BL said, but I would add one more thing.

In my opinion, our biggest problem is closing. We don't have enough winning plays at the end of games, so we can't win close games. Hurley and the team need to figure out a better end of game strategy if they can. UConn really doesn't have an alpha offensive player that we can count on down the stretch. Consequently, Gilbert tries to do too much at the end of games and he ends up turning the ball over too much.
Does it look like conditioning is an issue?
 
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I have to agree, that despite us doing a lot of bad things offensively, if we could just make some outside and mid range shots and not blow bunnies, a few of these L's would've been W's. CV, AG, JB, BA and Akok have all been shooting poorly of late. Without Polley the only one who has been hitting outside shots is Sid, go figure.
 
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I’m just really confident that next year UConn’s gonna be good. It’s almost storybook like, returning to the big east and returning the program to glory
 
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Does it look like conditioning is an issue?
No. UConn just does not have a player that is a tough matchup for the other team who can make shots when needed. Bouknight may become that player and I think Hurley should make him that player, but he may not be ready as a freshman.
 
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Does it look like conditioning is an issue?
No. A combination of lack of confidence -- if you don't win you think you won't win, and whether you think you're going to win or going to lose you're probably right -- and lack of an offensive weapon making scoring really tough when defenses focus. I'd come out of the last TV timeout and try to run set plays the rest of the way instead of running our offense, but with Bouk out and Carlton, Akok, and Adams non-factors the question becomes who you're supposed to run a play for.

It's quite possible that just finding a way to beat Tulsa at home Sunday and get over the damn hump changes the confidence levels and makes us enough better to start turning losses into wins.
 

Chin Diesel

Power of Love
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#2. For the love of all things good, no, no, no and several hundred more no's. Josh is completely overwhelmed by the combination of size and speed of the higher level in conference bigs. At this point, Josh's only benefit is an offensive rebound and put back.
 

ClifSpliffy

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the team im watching has gone from 'here James, do something' to now 'James is fitting in quite comfortably.' add in some more comfort for Sid and Jalen, Akok actually putting up more shots, everybody talking more on d, and hoping for a bit more self control from the starting guards, and we have the makings for a good February. cool.
 

Edward Sargent

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I think in terms of your #1 our shooters are taking 3's way too deep, even beyond the NBA line. Danny alluded to that I think in his coaches show
 
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Bouk and Akok haven't made a three since the last exit to Brooklyn. Gaff has. He needs to get one hundred percent of the time that Vital is on the bench, even begin to split time with Vital. He has shown no ability to run a team but has shown the ability to hit the open three, drive to the basket when the opportunity comes and make the correct pass when needed. He couldn't beat my cousin Vinny off the dribble. But, he should be given the chance to play off the ball like Vital.
 

dennismenace

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Does it look like conditioning is an issue?
It seems to me that conditioning is much better than last year and that has made the defense so relentless physically. I expect that to continue and recruits will have to buy into that before they sign on. Physical conditioning can be a very intimidating weapon against an opponent. We want to own the last 10 minutes of the game. I'm pretty happy with that aspect. As posters above have said we just need to better a few things like free throws, less mental mistakes and a few better shots. They have stopped quitting and that is a major change.
 
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Where are we...? Eleventh place in a twelve team conference. We are grossly deficient in almost all areas with the exception of effort, blocks, and defense.
 

HuskyHawk

Hoping to see something that looks like basketball
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A little perspective. I just looked at the KenPoms. We rank 33rd in the country in defensive efficiency. We rank 159th in the country in offensive efficiency. We are more than good enough defensively to be an NCAA team. People need to give the coaches, and the players, credit for that. It is not an easy thing to turn around, and the last three games they have worked their butts off -- effectively -- on the defensive end. The two most important players defensively are Gilbert, pressuring the opponent's point, and Akok altering all kinds of shots inside.

Obviously, we are not adequate offensively. 6 more points a game will make us as good a team as anyone in our conference heading into our conference tournament. Where do we get those extra points a game with our currently very limited offensively roster. Because we're not making Gilbert taller or Carlton more explosive or Vital a better dribbler over the next month. I have three thoughts.

1. Just shoot better. Gilbert has to make foul shots. Vital has to shoot 3s like he did last year, or Bouk or Adams has to make 3s like they did before conference play started. Just 2 or 3 more points a game from people hitting more of the same shots we're getting would make a huge difference. This is about confidence and practice. The players have to get this done.

2. Especially with Polley out, and with all the offensive limitations we have, we have to make more of an effort to get Carlton the ball down low. Is he limited? Heck yes. Is he maddeningly frustrating? Yes. But with Polley out, and our limitations we have to see if he can either score, like he did against Nova, or even just draw fouls and double teams like he did in a poor performance against Wichita State. We are too limited to give up on this. And Whalley was great last night, and give him every chance to do this again, but even if he can give us what he gave us last night consistently (and I'll be surprised if he can) he's not a back to the basket draw help player and this team needs that.

3. We have to ride Bouk's talents more in the minutes he can give us before foul trouble, and to do that with as few offensive weapons as we have we have to adjust our offense for him. It's fine to have Vital run around picks out wide because him getting an open pop from 3 is an option. Bouk needs to attack the rim, and he seems to be much more effective going downhill to the rim then attacking from wide. Get him the ball off movement in isolation at the top of the key and let him try to attack.

We're not far away. Losing sucks but we can't have back games that have gotten away. The last 3 games we're doing everything as well as the good teams in the American except winning. Time to find the tweaks, and time for some players to hit some jumpers and free throws.
Agree with all of this. Some added comments to your 1-2-3.

1. On the offensive end, we need to figure what is causing a guy like Akok to go 1-9 on what were all pretty clean looks. He's not selfish, quite the opposite. AG and Vital need to learn how to draw fouls when driving. They both elevate the ball way too early on their layups (or get caught under the basket in CVs case).

2. Josh is critical on the offensive and defensive end. But he's a liability in Hurley's pressure man defense and teams know he will chase his man way too far. When we need his offense, run zone on defense. He's perfectly suited to be a zone 5 on defense and is actually a decent shot blocker when he's not chasing.

3. Bouk is best up not not on the wing. We saw it yesterday. Use Sid or Akok to set those screens for him to ensure their man has to stay up top. Bouk will get to the lane and he does know how to play through contact.
 
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Granted it's improved immensely but Gilbert keeps driving into the trees and losing the ball.

They obviously don't respect the 3 because they double and triple team him when he drives.
 

tykurez

For Your Health
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As bad as we look on offense, it's not so much what's killing us - but our free throw shooting has been seemingly awful and it's been *the* difference.
Our adjusted offensive efficiency is actually the lowest it’s been since the KenPom era began with the exception of Calhoun’s 1997 team.

This is a REALLY bad offensive team.
 
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This team is really no big mystery
They are an excellent defensive team that is offensively challenged .
They excellent defense allows us to be competitive however the offense or lack of it costs us dearly in close games.
Hurley is between a rock and hard place ,decision wise, because unfortunately we are weak at the point , particularly shooting and FT shooting. . You might add TO’s but I view those as usually dependent rather than independent variables .( BB offense is an algebraic equation)
It’s hard to feel sorry for him because he rolled the dice with Gilbert and Gaffney and like my mom use to say you make your bed you have to lay in it.
Lets please put to bed the Ollie vs Hurley players because it’s not only a false dichotomy but counterproductive to team building which is the objective of every coach.Everyone on this team is his.
The Meme ”Ollie players are soft ” is not only false but the “Ollie players ”are the heart of that gritty D . Lacking talent should never be confused with toughness.
Gilbert especially is a Hurley player as he only appeared in 9 games for our previous coach , 2 of which he was seriously injured . He is closing in on 40 games with Hurley . We were 6-3 in those games and if everyone played as well as Gilbert we were probably 10-0 . So he was a winner under the previous regime.
Wasn’t it Hurley who moved JA to the 2 last year in deference to Gilbert and chose not to recruit over him.for this season. What more does a coach have to do to declare he is my man . So stop the stupidity.
Even with Gilbert’s offensive foibles , I don’t think him improving makes this a tournament team , he is simply not good enough for that move , without a corresponding jump from one additional shooter.
Akok hitting a few threes makes everyone better but in lieu of that
I would also like to see more of Akok at the 5 with Whaley, mid range or Wilson making a few jumpers at the 4 . Without bigger seams Gilbert’s ball strength is negated and TO’s more likely.
I’m still not giving up on Gaffney ,I like him , move Gilbert to the two for those 5-8 minutes and see what happens.
ironically Gilbert isn’t as bad catch and shoot guy as he is off his on dribble .
Carlton can go 7 of 13 from the line but anything less than 75% is awful for an experienced guard.
Fastening you seat belts Ye Huskies faithful and get ready for a bumpy ride.
The old guy has a good feeling about the way the season will play out.
I really care less about the record and more of where the team is at the end. To paraphrase a great movie
Build it and we will win.
UConn 2020 AAC Champs
 

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