Why the Huskies won


Yesterday I posted 5 keys to UConn winning the game, and for once, the Huskies were nearly flawless in addressing that part of the gameplan.  Overall grade: A- (no, that doesn’t included their shooting!):

1) Strong starts in both halves.

Result: For the one of the few times all season, the Huskies started both halves strongly, particularly the second half.  Down three, then six after a Butler 3 to open the half, the Huskies came right back with a great run and took over the game.

Grade: A+.  The run to start the second half was outstanding.

2) Unleash the Beast.

Result: Aside from foul trouble, Alex Oriakhi played a great game yesterday, with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots in 25 minutes.  He was 5-6 from the field.

Grade: A.  Oriakhi provided what the Huskies needed.

3) Don’t force 3′s.

Result: The box score will show that the Huskies were 1-11 on 3-pointers.  What it doesn’t show is when those shots were taken.  The Huskies had a horrible first half of shooting, including 1-7 on 3’s.  Unless I’ve missed one in the play-by-play, they didn’t attempt another one until there were fewer than 8 minutes remaining in the game, at which point they had built an 11 point lead.

Grade: A-. They would have rated more highly, but they did force some at the end.

4) Play physical, but stay out of foul trouble.

Result: They got into early foul trouble, but the Huskies were definitely physical — probably the most physical that I’ve seen them in years.  It wasn’t just outside, either — they fought through screens, over screens, around screens, and just absolutely pestered the Butler ball-handlers.  Shabazz Napier in particular was a one man full-court press.

Grade: B+.  First half foul trouble is the reason for the downgrade.  When they were on the court, they were suffocating.

5) Limit Butler’s 3′s — particulary Shelvin Mack.

Result: Butler hit nine 3’s for the game — out of 33 attempts.  The Huskies did a much better job defending 3’s than I’ve seen in a long time, though they did occasionally leave guys such as Chase Stigall and Shelvin Mack wide open.  Overall, it was a pretty good job defending beyond the arc, though.

Grade: B+. They had a few blown coverages, but mostly were in Butler’s face(s) outside the arc.

 

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