Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Well That Sucked

It wasn’t supposed to go down like that.

We had just won 9 straight games. 8-0 in conference play. Ranked No. 5 in the land by the AP. We’d already toppled one No. 1 team that came to our house.

They weren’t supposed to come in here, into Freedom Hall, and deliver that kind of beat-down.

But nobody told that to the Huskies. 68-51.

The tale of the tape: inside presence. Earl and Samardo combined for 2-18 shooting. Connecticut’s 7-3 Hasheem Thabeet out-scored, out-rebounded, and out-muscled BOTH of our big men by himself and at times looked more like a volleyball striker than a Big East center. He intimidated Samardo into taking only 2 shots, and neither he nor Earl drew a foul in the paint. We shot 2 free throws. Yes, part of that was poor officiating. More of that was Hasheem Thabeet. With the exception of T Will, who had 26 points in only 28 minutes, we played scared offensively. Samuels was downright petrified.

Pitino is correct: We are not a very good offensive team.

On the other end of the court, forward Jeff Adrian worked Earl Clark, finishing with 18 and 11. They also shot 24 free throws. Did Louisville foul 12 times as much as UConn? Probably not, and the boo birds were out amongst the 20,069 to let the stripes hear about it. But what was more frustrating was watching Clark settle for mid-range jumpers all night, instead of putting the ball on the floor and going strong to the hole. Perhaps Thabeet had something to do with that. Perhaps Earl was trying to show the countless NBA scouts in attendance he’s got a stroke in his arsenal. Probably not a good call for a guy that shoots only 36% from three. His 1-for-6 from trey last night didn’t help that percentage.

I’m not putting it all on Earl and Samuels. There’s plenty of blame to go around. Jerry and McGee combined for 0 points, 1 assist in 32 minutes. No productivity out of the front-court plus no productivity out of the back-court generally equals disaster, especially when you’re matched up against the top team in the country. Pitino used an “interesting” line-up at the end of the first half, opting to go with Kyle Kuric and Jared Swopshire, and the Huskies scored the last 10 points before heading into the locker room. I understand T Will had 2 fouls, but…man.

Edgar Sosa continued to be a bright spot with his 4 assists to go with only 1 turnover. We got good minutes out of Preston Knowles. Pitino hinted at his press conference that he’s going to use him more, which works for me. The inconsistency that is Jerry Smith has gone from baffling to frustrating to straight-up infuriating. Pitino also said Terrence Jennings will be used more as well. We’ll see what exactly that means in due time, I guess.

At any rate, that game did nothing to alleviate my sheer hatred for all things UConn, including but not limited to Jim Calhoun and Larry Taylor.

Next, it’s on the road again. Up to St. John’s Saturday and then Notre Dame the 15th. If somebody besides Terrence Williams doesn’t step up, it’ll be sad, sad little trip.

No comments:

Post a Comment