UConn fell to Stanford (8-2) late Wednesday evening, 53-51 — a frustrating loss and the Huskies’ first of the season. After a stellar first half that dispelled the notion that UConn may be rusty following a prolonged layoff for final exams, the Huskies absolutely fell apart.
Here’s some statistics for the pessimists in the crowd. In the second half, UConn shot 16% from the floor. They scored 13 points. They were 0-12 from three. Shabazz Napier alone was 0-5 from three, missed his last six shots, and came up short at the end of the game when UConn still had a chance to win it.
Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun both continued their cold streaks. Calhoun was 1-6 from three and 1-8 from the floor. Boatright was 0-2 from deep and 3-11 overall. For most of the season, that pair has been bailed out by the hot shooting of Lasan Kromah and Niels Giffey. Against Stanford, that duo went a combined 2-6 from deep, 0-3 in the second half.
The front court play was nothing short of atrocious in both halves for UConn. Phil Nolan and Amida Brimah each played 13 minutes. Brimah managed four rebounds and two blocks but again looked overmatched against quality opponents. Tyler Olander was also ineffective. After three misses shots, several of the “why in the hell are you shooting that?” variety, the crowd serenaded the senior with boos as he made his way to the bench.
UConn’s best offensive player was DeAndre Daniels. Why the rest of the squad launched 21 three-pointers, Daniels took only one (and he made it). He finished with a team-high 15 points on 6-10 shooting. However, as the Husky offense fell apart, Daniels barely touched the ball. Daniels hit a layup to give UConn a 47-46 lead with 8:33 left in the game. He did not attempt a shot until the final buzzer, save for a semi-miraculous tip-in of an offensive rebound.
UConn (#10, 9-1) chose to live or die by the three-pointer, practically ignoring Daniels against Stanford’s tough zone defense. Ball movement suffered, only two fast-break points were scored after halftime, and nothing went their way.
For the optimists, here’s the take away: this was a fluke. The 13 second-half points are the lowest point total in a half in over a decade (after an historically terrible first half against UMass, UConn would actually win that game). This year’s team is talented and full of shooters. They’re not going to shoot 0% from deep in a half very often. In you ignore the fallacy of the predetermined outcome, a sole make would’ve won the game for the Huskies.
Although it was somewhat odd that coach Kevin Ollie didn’t shuffle the roster even more to find a spark (Terrence Samuel and Kenton Facey never checked in), it was encouraging to see UConn employ a small lineup when their big men were struggling so mightily. Lasan Kromah and Shabazz Napier led the team with five rebounds each. If that’s happening, it doesn’t particularly matter if you have a seven-footer on the court.
All in all, this was a bad loss, but it is what it is. It won’t be the last game UConn loses this season but you can take comfort in the fact that they will probably not play a worse half of basketball.
- The odd weeknight late start didn’t seem to effect the players. The crowd topped 11,000 — which was good — but man did they get quiet when UConn let the game slip away. The Huskies didn’t give the XL Center patrons a whole lot to cheer for, but it’s got to be tough to play in a silent arena at home.
- Napier took the loss especially hard, faulting himself for not getting his teammates going. Asked if he iced himself by not attempting to score much until late, he said he doesn’t need to see the ball go in the basket to get hot. He never felt cold, or in a shooting slump.
- New UConn Football coach Bob Diaco was introduced in the first half and gave a rousing speech to the XL Center crowd. He praised both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and encouraged everyone to buy football season tickets. And he did it very handsomely.
The Huskies are traveling to Seattle on Thursday in advance of another Pac 10 matchup, this time against Washington on Sunday December 22nd. Tip is 3:30pm and will be ESPNU.
We live in an age where it’s never too soon to evaluate and place a ranking on a basketball player. Hell, a quick google search will tell you who the best 8th graders in the country are. The college ranks are no different, where outlets specializing in forecasting the upcoming NBA Draft have been analyzing NCAA players and placing them on Top 100 lists and mock drafts since before the season started.
As it stands, some combination of Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins, Kentucky’s Julius Randle and Duke’s Jabari Parker are almost universally topping the leaderboards. When last we checked in during the preseason, UConn’s three prospective stars — Shabazz Napier, DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright — were flying decidedly under the radar. Daniels topped out at #29 on NBADraft.net, while Napier was ranked 44th by ESPN’s Chad Ford.
Today, Daniels has virtually vanished from all Draft rankings. Neither NBADraft.net nor DraftExpress.com even mention Daniels, while ESPN lists him, Napier and Boatright in the dubious “Second Round/Undrafted” category.
Ryan Boatright is also missing from most mock drafts. The undersized guard hasn’t been a world-beater this year and, as such, hasn’t seen much movement in his stock from last season, when he was forced to return to UConn despite hoping for an early shot at the NBA.
Napier has taken the biggest step forward in the NBADraft.net rankings. He now sits at #29, the exact spot Daniels occupied in July — Napier was listed #46 at that time. DraftExpress has him 50th overall, the 20th pick of the second round.
As we discussed ad nauseam last season, the NCAA Tournament is historically where UConn players have boosted their national profile. With that card back in the deck this year, the Husky stars (and senior Niels Giffey) will have their chance to make their marks on a big stage. Still, the mock drafts give you an interesting perspective of how UConn’s players are looked at nationally — or overlooked, nationally.
Via a press release from UConn:
UConn redshirt freshman Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C.) is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery Tuesday morning at the UConn Health Center in Farmington for a left labral repair.
The surgery, a left shoulder arthroscopy, will repair a torn labrum as well as tighten up muscles to stabilize a condition that has bothered Purvis since high school. The surgery is expected to alleviate sporadic episodes of pain he has suffered throughout the past few years while playing basketball.
An MRI done earlier this year revealed the condition and the decision was made to have the surgery now, while Purvis is forced to sit out this season following his transfer from North Carolina State. The recovery period is usually 4-5 months, allowing him to have a full off-season when he is able to return to basketball activities.
Purvis, a 6-4 guard, had been practicing with the Huskies up to this point. He will have three seasons of eligibility, beginning in 2014-15.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery.
As the holiday season rolls on, and the pressure of trying to find your loved ones the perfect gifts start to weigh on you, your friends at A Dime Back have done the hard work for you. We have scoured eBay on your behalf, combing through hundreds of boring items like iPads and jetpacks to find you the best the internet has to offer. Of course, with a UConn tie-in.
Every Day Apparel:
Is your loved one so poorly dressed that it’s becoming embarrassing? Then perhaps we can interest you in this sweet t-shirt. The model certainly looks happy. Don’t you want your family to be happy too? No? Oh. Then how about this beauty? Notice how the stars really compliment the demented Jonathan.
Tis the season of giving, but tis also the season of freezing. Protect that special someone from the elements with this pullover Starter jacket. Or hunt through your parents’ garage for one, because you know you had one exactly like this.
Should your secret Santa not fit into a Boys size 12, here’s a backup option. This Starter sweatshirt may not keep its owner from freezing to death as they walk from Towers to Arjona, but they’ll look damn good when they’re discovered — in like June when the snow finally melts.
Dress Like the Stars:
Relive the glory days of your favorite UConn stars of yesteryear by snatching up these vintage jerseys. There’s Donyell Marshall from his Jazz days. Ray Allen’s Bucks uniform. Rip Hamilton’s Wizards garments — before Michael Jordan had him traded for beating him in HORSE. And Ben Gordon’s Bulls jersey, two teams and an awful lot of money ago.
Read Like the Press:
“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” That’s what you can yell on holiday morning as you win the love of your relatives with the 1979 UConn Football Media Guide. Surely a crowd pleaser. If an unending history of mediocrity isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of basketball media guides on the eBay as well. Here’s a good one — the 1996-1997 preseason prospectus, obviously.
Isn’t it weird how that friend of yours has no pictures on his wall? What’s their deal? It’s creepy, frankly. If you’re unwilling to get new friends, get that weird person this awesome Travis Knight photo! It’s autographed so it’s super official and very frame-worthy.
For the high-rollers, how about this beautiful Ray Allen poster from his Seattle days?
Learn To Read:
Instead of the latest, super awesome video game that will rot the brain of the youngsters in your life, get them something to read! They may not appreciate it now, or ever, but…I lost my train of thought. How about the first edition (whoa) of the Jim Calhoun classic Dare to Dream? It can be yours for $6.99 with free shipping! The jokes stopped two sentences ago. You should legitimately buy this.
Or, you could purchase whatever the hell this is. Honestly, I have no idea what this is. Help me. It appears someone has simply turned Rashad Anderson’s Wikipedia page into a book and called it a book about Rashad Anderson. Could be cool?
Everybody loves weird Christmas shit, and it doesn’t get much weirder or much shittier than this Santa wearing a UConn uniform dribbling a basketball. Look at the intensity on this guy. Quite the conversation piece.
For the loved one who enjoys telling time, get them this half clock/half plaque celebrating the 1990 Big East Championship! Possibly pawned by Tate George!
We hope this guide has helped. If you’re still short on gift ideas, you can purchase some officially-licensed UConn swag from their official store. Half of all proceeds go to a future football coach, so it’s kinda like charity. As always, if you find fun, awesome or weird stuff, post it in the comments! Have a happy and healthy holiday season!
As the newly-minted #9 UConn Huskies take a break from the court to focus on their final exams, it seems as good a time as any check out some stats, about a third of the way into the season.
This exercise began with a hunch and a loaded hypothesis, that UConn shoots better on campus in Gampel Pavilion than they do in the XL Center in Hartford. While historically that might hold true, through nine games this season, that would be false. The team is shooting 53.4% in Hartford and only 50.3% in Storrs. Of course, when playing Maine, Loyola (Md.) and Yale, there is a pretty good chance you’ll shoot the lights out. Still, it is what it is.
On the year, UConn ranks 35th in the nation in field goal percentage at 49.1%. For reference, they shot 44.2% a year ago. They are shooting an average of 4.88% better than what their opponents typically allow. So, if an opponent was allowing 50% shooting on the year, UConn is typically shooting 54.88% against them. UConn’s offense has outperformed every opponent’s defense with the exception of that horrible Boston College game. Boston College allows opponents to shoot 47.4%. UConn managed just 39.3%.
UConn is also 21st in the country in scoring defense. Opponents are shooting just 37.7% against the Huskies.
On an individual level, senior Niels Giffey is 2nd in the country in three-point shooting at an insane 66.7%. Shabazz Napier is tied for 19th at 57.1%. It’s no wonder UConn is torching zone defenses this season, when you can bury threes, you’re pretty much unstoppable. Guess Syracuse escaped just in time.
Of course, most of these numbers are tainted by UConn’s usual cupcake schedule. The problem with playing teams like Loyola and Detroit is that you have to take the results with a massive grain of salt. Big wins against the likes of Florida and Indiana have justified the excitement around the state, but the going is about to get tough.
The final three non-conference games this month are against Stanford, at regular Washington and in Bridgeport against Eastern Washington. The results of those three games should tell us more about this UConn team that any of the statistics cited above.
In a game devoid of suspense, UConn head coach Kevin Ollie found moments to teach. As the Huskies routed Maine (1-7) on Friday night, three freshman notched significant minutes and showed the sparse XL Center crowd a glimpse of the future.
The trio of Amida Brimah, Kenton Facey and Terrence Samuel didn’t dazzle — although Brimah picked up several highlight reel blocks — but they were consistent, and calm. For much of the second half, Samuel ran the point. There were bumps along the way (four turnovers), but also bright spots (four assists) that drew praise from the likes of starting guard Ryan Boatright.
Brimah and Facey each played 18 minutes. Brimah picked up four blocks, delighting the crowd. Facey had a team-high nine rebounds. While Facey looked great, it wasn’t exactly stiff competition.
Brimah is now averaging 3.2 blocks-per-game. For reference, as a freshman, Hasheem Thabeet averaged 3.81 and Emeka Okafor averaged 4.06. The comparisons are inevitable, but it’s fun to look back at how dominant Thabeet and Okafor were, even as youngsters.
Nothing really noteworthy happened in the game. #12 UConn improved to 9-0 on the season. The Huskies won the rebounding battle. Omar Calhoun got his groove back a little — going 5-12 from the floor for 16 points. Ryan Boatright was probably the Huskies’s best player with 17 points, five assists and only one turnover.
Shabazz Napier picked up his usual bizarre assortment of stats — seven points, eight assists, five rebounds and four steals. One of those assists was Napier’s 500th of his career, making him only the second player in UConn history with over 1,300 career points, 500 assists and 400 rebounds. The other is Doron Sheffer, a former teammate of Ollie’s from the mid-90’s.
UConn will take 12 days off for finals, before returning to the XL Center on Wednesday, December 18th for a tough matchup against Stanford.
Just when your heart rate finally returned to a safe, normal level following UConn’s thrilling victory over #15 Florida on Monday, the Huskies are back in action taking on the Black Bears of Maine tonight at the XL Center in Hartford.
This game is significant in that it is not at all significant. At 1-6 on the season, Maine is flat-out bad, and should present little trouble for UConn. Junior guard Xavier Pollard is probably Maine’s best player, either first or second on the team in scoring, rebounding and assists per game — but he has missed three of the past five games due to injury.
The challenge for #12 UConn will be remaining focused — and building upon their 8-0 start during their final tuneup against cupcake competition. There have been multiple occasions this season in which the Huskies have looked disinterested in finishing games, letting inferior opponents hang around for too long. It would be nice to see a killer instinct start to come out of them.
UConn will also be looking to get sophomore guard Omar Calhoun back on track. The young guard has been struggling recently, and has seen his statistics decline in almost every meaningful category. After averaging just over 32 minutes per game last season, he is currently playing just over 22, having lost time on the court to the more productive tandem of Niels Giffey and Lasan Kromah. Head coach Kevin Ollie voiced is commitment to Calhoun during the week, but will have to start seeing results soon. Otherwise, a change in the starting lineup may be warranted.
There’s not much else to say about this one. Enjoy the last, true stress-free night of the season. After this game, UConn will take a break for finals, before returning to action against a tough Stanford team on the 18th.
The game will tip at 7pm and you can watch at home on SNY.
Name this team: They have (arguably or inarguably) the best player in country. His backcourt-mate is capable of scoring at a high clip. The team’s go-to big guy is really more of a perimeter shooter and makes his living beyond fifteen feet. Their wing players are hitting an impossibly high number of open threes. They are consistently being out-rebounded. But they almost always win.
No, we’re not talking about UConn. We’re talking about the Miami Heat. Think of them what you will, but the reigning NBA champs are, once again, running through the league this season. Today, Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry penned an illuminating piece — heavily quoting LeBron James — explaining just how they’re doing it.
You should read it, but here’s the gist: LeBron is amazingly good but is also hyper aware of the actions of his teammates. Chris Bosh sets hard screens up top, and is often open for a mid-range jumpshot. Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade plays off the ball, cutting hard to the basket where he gets open looks at the rim or draws a foul. Should any of this not work, Shane Battier and God’s favorite son, Ray Allen hang out behind the arc and rain three-pointers.
Tell me that isn’t exactly how UConn’s offense should run. Hell, copy that article. Find and replace “LeBron James” with “Shabazz Napier.” Switch “Dwyane Wade” with “Ryan Boatright.” “Chris Bosh” becomes “DeAndre Daniels.” “Shane Battier and Ray Allen” can now be referred to as “whoever has the hot hand between Niels Giffey, Omar Calhoun and Lasan Kromah.”
The comparison isn’t perfect, obviously, but the point stands. UConn’s greatest assets on offense are very similar to the Heat’s. Their star takes more joy in facilitating his teammates than scoring, and their undersized lineup is made to take open jumpers and get to the free throw line.
The Heat have laid out the perfect blueprint for how UConn can win games without rebounding well (Miami is last in the NBA in rebounding). Control the pace on offense, play absurdly aggressive on-ball defense, frantically fast break, and only take good shots.
Having the best player in the nation doesn’t hurt, either.
On January 27, 1990 Gampel Pavilion opened its doors to the public for the first time. The gleaming arena had been intermittently discussed, shelved and revamped for 15 years before finally being adopted as part of a five year plan for rejuvenating the basketball program that included the hiring of a new coach, Jim Calhoun.
Somewhat lost in the scope of history is that the opening night of Gampel, against St. John’s, was the first Big East game in Storrs of Calhoun’s tenure as the conference had decided that the Field House, UConn’s home court prior to Gampel, was unsuitable for games of that magnitude. Prior to Gampel’s completion every game was played in Hartford at the (then) Civic Center. “It’s important that Big East basketball make its reappearance on our campus as soon as possible,” then Athletic Director Todd Turner told the Associated Press in 1990.
Which brings us to today, 24 years later.
On Monday evening, #12 UConn pulled off a thrilling victory over #15 Florida in front of a sellout crowd of 10,167 on campus in Gampel. The atmosphere was electric and appreciated by UConn players and coaches, including senior guard Shabazz Napier, who hit the game winning buzzer-beater and was not shy about telling the press of his affinity for playing on-campus. It’s a common sentiment that is frequently shared by players, both past and present. The XL Center holds more people (16,294 to be exact), but does so in a sterile, borderline-decrepit arena that is 30 miles from where the players and their student fans reside.
As recently as 2011, former Hartford Whalers owner Howard Baldwin proposed a $105 Million overhaul of the XL Center — transforming the arena and the space around it into a modern entertainment venue that would accommodate foot traffic and perhaps lure a professional hockey team back to the capitol city. Baldwin’s proposal was, if not mocked, almost immediately discarded. In this economic climate — and with a recent national trend of taxpayer-financed privately-owned stadiums failing to return the investment — the appetite was not there for the state to foot the bill, and Baldwin lacked any financial support of his own.
Despite the failure of Baldwin’s proposal, it did spur a conversation about the dismal state of the arena that quite literally did collapse once in the past. When Global Spectrum was chosen as the new managing entity of the XL Center (and Rentschler Field) earlier this year, they became contractually obligated to begin capital improvements to the building. Renovations have started, slated at $2.5 M, that are aimed at keeping the arena functioning while financing their basic operations on the backs of UConn basketball. While Global Spectrum’s management contract runs for ten years, UConn recently signed a new contract with the XL Center that grants them leniency to play at other venues — such as the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
Sources have said that UConn was unhappy with the process by which Global Spectrum was selected to run XL and the Rent. Coupled with UConn’s demands of alternate venues, the relationship between the university and Hartford seems as strained as ever.
Adding to the intrigue are several feasibility studies. One declares XL’s future lifespan capped at around 10 years. In September, Michael Freimuth, executive director of the Capitol Region Development Authority — the quasi-public agency in charge of negotiating with Global Spectrum — told the Hartford Courant, “the thought here is this is what we have to do to make sure the building has 10 years of productivity left,” in response to a study recommending the state’s investment in renovations. That same study explored the feasibility of building a new arena in downtown Hartford, possibly at a price tag upwards of $400 Million.
In 1974, the first plans for Gampel Pavilion were laid out at an estimated price of $6-7 Million — less than Caron Butler’s 2013 salary. By the time a plan was settled on, a bid was approved and the money was handed over by the state legislature, the total costs amounted to just under $25 Million. Over the past several decades, enhancements have been made to Gampel — including adding additional seats. However, the once glimmering building in the center of campus is beginning to show its age. The interior of its trademark dome is peeling like a sunburn, a constant reminder of the maintenance required of an arena. Its 10,167 seats do not account for any luxury boxes. Alcohol-free concessions limit both earning potential and appeal to adult fans. The students are shoehorned into three sections — under one basket, and the two uppermost ends of the stadium — barely visible on television. Millions of dollars of repairs are required, and will soon be necessary at the same time their auxiliary arena in Hartford is crumbling.
There is little sense in paying to maintain two flawed arenas. While it’s noble for UConn to bandage the failed managerial and financial decisions that have doomed the XL Center, it is hardly their responsibility. Hartford should be a market for a professional sports team. And it’s stadium should be built, funded and maintained by that team’s ownership group — not the state’s taxpayers, and not the state’s university.
Gampel Pavilion is a state-owned building, and whenever its replacement is erected, that will be state-owned as well. The sound financial move would be to start exploring the feasibility of abandoning the XL Center when this current contract expires and playing most UConn home games in a new on-campus arena.
UConn’s relationship with Webster Bank Arena is a smart one. It exposes them to a Fairfield County crowd that supports the team but will rarely travel to Storrs. The same reasoning applies to UConn’s games at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan and the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. This season, UConn plays eight games while their students are home for winter break. One is in Hartford. One is in Bridgeport. Two are in Gampel. Four are on the road.
If that breakdown becomes: One in Bridgeport, one in Hartford, one at Mohegan Sun and one on campus — UConn could continue to market themselves across the state while minimizing the students’ absence from campus.
Attendance is an immediate concern. If the university builds a 13,000 seat arena (we’ll split the difference between XL and Gampel), could they fill it? The program has shown it can pack both arenas for big games (like Monday’s), but it has also shown a recent tendency to have massive swaths of seats unsold for minor games. You have to wonder if the crutch of having two venues is actually a deterrent.
There’s not a lot of incentive to travel from Storrs the 30 miles to Hartford to see an exhibition game against Concordia. Or to travel from Hartford to Storrs to see Detroit, or SCSU, if a game will be played in your neighborhood later in the week.
This gets into another issue that UConn needs to resolve immediately, regardless of their home venue, and that is the quality of competition that arrives in Connecticut. The game against Florida was a prime example of what UConn’s program can deliver at its best. If Gampel Pavilion had another 5,000 seats, they would have been filled. The same will be true when Louisville arrives in Storrs in January. Filling the home schedule with high-caliber opponents is crucial to the future success of the program.
The American Athletic Conference will not guarantee sold out arenas. With Louisville departing for the ACC next season, really only Memphis (maybe Cincinnati) is an appealing enough draw to fill either Gampel or the XL Center. A talented and fun UConn squad will fill some of those seats on their own, but the out-of-conference schedule needs to bolster the attendance numbers that will inevitably sag during conference play. Detroit, Yale, Loyola and Maine aren’t going to cut it. The athletic department needs to reach out again to Texas and North Carolina. Continuing series against Florida and Stanford would also be worthwhile. UConn quite honestly needs to have the toughest out-of-conference in the country to maintain both their attendance and their presence on national television.
Expanding upon Gampel, or building a new on-campus arena, would be in keeping with the state’s recent investments in the university. Millions of dollars have been spent over the past few years — if you go back a decade or so and include the UConn 2000 funds, the sum balloons even higher. The goal of all of that funding is to establish the university as a top tier public school that can rival the likes of Michigan and Virginia in both academics and facilities. Not only do athletic buildings factor into that model, when capitalizing on the marketability of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, they have the potential to be an immediate economic driver for the school and the state.
There is a fairly high probability that conversations similar to this have already been happening within UConn’s athletic department. As a high level college program, they are in a unique position to fundraise heavily from wealthy donors and use that money for projects in this vein in the future. It may be several years before this debate truly becomes public, but rest assured it will come eventually.
An arena that has expanded, modern seating, luxury boxes for high rollers, a prominent place for students and genuine ties to the campus makes sense. At least as much sense as spending $400 Million on an XL Center sequel.
By now, you’ve no doubt seen the ending. A frantic trap. A wild shot. A fortuitous tip. A heroic second chance.
As Shabazz Napier’s shot found the bottom of the net — the latest moment in a career of heroics — he bolted towards the locker room. Never afraid to take the big shot, the senior guard was afraid of the crush of the crowd. “I’m a little bit claustrophobic,” he said after the game.
When he reemerged from the tunnel flanked by his teammates, Napier strolled to midcourt for a post-game interview with ESPN. An indication that the looming crowd growing around him now also includes national media and tournament expectations. During his typical wrap up session with the press, representatives from ESPN and CBS prodded Napier to compare himself to Kemba Walker — the last UConn player to display a similar knack for hitting big shots. The ever-courteous Napier tried not to look annoyed.
The more this UConn team succeeds, and the more Napier’s stock rises, the more those questions will come. It’s an easy storyline — albeit a lazy one — that marginalizes both Napier’s transcendent abilities and the contributions of his teammates. Junior forward DeAndre Daniels saved the game as much as Napier did — tipping out an offensive rebound that landed perfectly in Napier’s hands for the game winner. Fellow senior Niels Giffey buried some big shots to cover for a struggling Omar Calhoun. Ryan Boatright led the team in assists, as Napier looked to score more often. Lasan Kromah’s defense was incredible, while pulling down four important rebounds.
#12 UConn’s defeat of #15 Florida (6-2) is highlighted by the superhuman efforts of Napier, but don’t be fooled. It was a team victory. At 8-0 on the season, every victory has been a team victory, and the first player in the locker room to tell you that will be Napier.
- Florida’s big men absolutely destroyed UConn. Phil Nolan and Tyler Olander fouled out without contributing much. Amida Brimah looked completely overmatched on defense.
- It took until there was one minute left in the game for UConn to unveil their best lineup against a bigger team. They went small, Daniels, Giffey, Kromah, Boatright and Napier. No matter who they put on the court, they were not going to be bigger than Florida. Why not go small and force them to adapt? Wish UConn would do this more often.
- I spoke to a Western Conference scout who was less than thrilled with the NBA prospects from either team. “There’s some really nice college players,” he told me. “There’s not a lot of NBA talent. I’ve seen DeAndre Daniels three times now and I’m still waiting for him to figure it out.”
- Florida coach Billy Donovan called Napier’s shot “lucky” and said “Daniels won the game for them.” It didn’t come off quite as salty in person as it does in print, but still kinda salty.
- Poems should be written about the performance of the student section. They were loud. They were disruptive. They were profane. They were phenomenal. If they showed up like that to every game at Gampel, there would be an uprising against big games at the XL Center. Here’s your pat on the back, kids. Now more of that, please.
Speaking of the XL Center, UConn will take on Maine (1-5) at the asylum on Asylum, Friday Dec. 6th. Tip will be at 7pm. The game will be on SNY.