Saturday, March 14, 2009
Not So Mighty
In the University of Connecticut fight song, there is a lyric that goes "UConn Husky, symbol of might to the foe". Nothing could be further from the truth right now. Old Jonathan probably appears more like an un-house trained puppy to the enemy right now. UConn has some serious problems right now and if they do not address them, they could end up getting sent out of the NCAA tournament faster than Thabeet sends back a shot to where it came from.
While the last few games were not as crucial for UConn as they are a lock for the tournament, they have been very damaging, and have shown several signs of weakness in the team. Against Pittsburgh, securing rebounds really haunted the Huskies. It looked like players like Jeff Adrien, Stanley Robinson and Hasheem the Dream had good position to pull down rebounds, but somehow the ball was taken away from them by Pittsburgh's front line. This resulted in numerous second chance points for Pittsburgh and ultimately a loss in my book.
The next problem facing UConn is their depth. The injury to Jerome Dyson is really starting to show its significance as the Huskies are struggling to score points off the bench and run basically a 7 or 8 man roster. Gavin Edwards is the ultimate stiff and is a symbol of the shallowness of the UConn roster. I would have liked to see Jim Calhoun expand the role of some of the bench players during the Big East tournament. Believe it or not, there are two other 7 footers on this roster; but we will have to "dance with who brung ya". If the starters are not clicking in the Tourney, look out.
Finally, UConn's Achilles Heel, if you know your Greek mythology, has all year been foul shooting. Don't get me wrong, I thought the 6 OT game against Syracuse was amazing but it easily could have been won in regulation if UConn could just hit a damn foul shot. The final stat line had UConn shooting 57% from the line while Syracuse shot a robust 79%, including Flynn and Harris going an unbelievable 29-30 from the line. We saw how foul shooting de-railed Memphis' seemingly locked NCAA Championship last year. UConn's foul shooting is very comparable.
We have all seen what UConn can do when they are on a roll. When all cylinders are firing, UConn is the best team in all the land. However, their weaknesses are apparent. They very well could have dropped to a #2 seed with their most recent losses, and have definitely given other teams a blue print on how to beat them. I am still hoping for the best for UConn in the tournament, but I am preparing for the worst. If I had a picture of me smashing beer bottles in the bathroom of the bar I was in after the Huskies lost to San Diego in the first round last year, I would insert it here. Let's go Huskies!!