Monday, February 06, 2006

UConn Triumphant

The game was mostly a disappointing loss. IU fought bravely, but the Huskies are just not a team that this Hoosier squad is going to trump more than once or twice if they played each other ten times.

IU loses at home to #1 for second time this season by eight points. But this was not the same.

I actually don't think Calhoun is a significantly better coach than Davis, as his teams have always displayed poor shot selection and poor perimeter defense (& did again in this game). Only the multitude of shot-blockers this squad has gives them the ability to overplay and get away with it.
But I love Calhoun's aggressive offense. Davis also lets his guys shoot themselves out of slumps, but Calhoun's players really want to punish their opponents, and IU guys rarely have that edge. In Davis' defense, his guys almost always have played aggressively on defense. Except for Marco, who when he wants to can impose a tough wall to shoot over, commit the hard fouls and gather the rebounds, but his matador D was on full display on Saturday in all of its pathetic glory.

During key stretches, the Huskies hit threes and fadeaway jumpers, and IU missed lay-ups. Those stretches should have been where Indiana went on big runs to counter UConn's big runs. But IU could only hold them even, and the Connecticut runs were too much to overcome.

Kudos to Rudy Gay. I would've given him for the open outside shot, but he was on fire, going 3-4 outside the arc. But other than that UConn did not shoot well, and IU didn't turn it over. But when it mattered, UConn got offensive rebounds until they scored, often with a silly foul giving them a chance for a three-point play.

Inside play a major, major concern. Killer's got to score, as he's not doing anything else. Big Ben's got a future, but right now he plays like a freshman.
DJ White? Not playing this season. And IU is simply not a contender this season.

I don't want to take this opportunity to kick Davis (it'd be a cheap shot right now), but to explain my concerns, take a look at
this article about Louis Orr:

And now, some want to believe that Orr is saving his job with this run. They want to believe that there's no way that he could make the NCAA tournament and get fired. That's the kind of narrow thinking -- the kind of fool's gold trap -- that could cripple the Pirates' program in the Big East. . . .

Seton Hall is desperate for someone dynamic and that's never been Louis Orr, and it never will be him.
Maybe that's cruel, but that's the reality of life in this market for Seton Hall. Orr could be the right coach for a different program, in a different market, but face facts: This program has turned irrelevant, even with this nice winning streak.
Quinlan's job isn't to reward Orr for overachieving with some tough-minded seniors, but make a statement about Seton Hall's identity for the long run.

Compare this with Davis' situation at Indiana, and I think these are some valid points.
I'm not worried particularly about this loss, or with getting things turned around this season, or even next to some extent. But what worries me is the long-term picture at IU. Are Hoosiers going to take a permanent back seat to Michigan State and Illinois and Ohio State?

Silver linings. Uh, not many. Strickland handled his combo role well, and Calloway finally played up to his ability. Just imagine if he had gotten some time in the first 29 minutes. It makes me feel like he could handle full-time point duties after a year in the system and a summer working on shooting. We'll need someone for next season, as Suhr and incoming frosh Armon Bassett will both probably be good for spot minutes, but we can't expect either one to provide starter minutes.

What was with all the shots that Vaden (5-19) and Wilmont (5-14) were taking? If you're not hitting... Also, Marco went a more understandable 4 for 13, but he was throwing up air-balls and bricking lay-ups. Davis should maybe get Ratliff (2-4) and Strickland (5-9) some more shots, eh? But really, I don't know how much better IU could've played. Sure, Killer, Allen, and Vaden could've hit some open shots, and Wilmont jacked a couple of off-balance prayers, but after a brief run when Calloway came in, UConn reasserted its dominance and was up 85-68 before IU made it look not so bad.

This next week, the Hoosiers have to get it turned around. The good news is they can look a lot better if they get wins at slumping Wisconsin and at home against Iowa, both of which are totally possible. But even a split will build the heat on Davis.


Post a Comment

<< Home