UConn beat Yale 80-62 this afternoon to improve to 2-0 on the young season, but chances are you didn't see it, because nobody did.
Seriously, whose dumbass idea was it to schedule this game for 3 p.m. on a Monday. I get that it's Veterans Day and that a lot of people have the day off from work, but obviously those people weren't in the stands, because when the game tipped off, the XL Center looked like it was empty. Also, you know who didn't have the day off for Veterans Day? UConn students. So good job putting this game in Hartford so only like 12 students could go. Really good job.
Chill out Mac, it's 2013, everyone can just crank up ESPN3 and watch from their desks. You're right, my mistake, this game was never going to draw much of a crowd anyway, and even if you did have to work or go to class today, you could still have watched it on your computer anyway. Oh wait, no, because the game was blacked out on ESPN3 in Connecticut due to contractual obligations with SNY. So basically if you had to work or go to class today, you were shit out of luck.
Bottom line, unless you live out of state or skipped out on some responsibilities, you probably didn't see this game. And that's too bad, because there was a lot to like from UConn's performance.
The biggest headline was without question Shabazz Napier's triple-double. Napier finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists on the afternoon to record the 10th triple-double in school history and the second of his career. The others were recorded by Napier two years ago, Kemba Walker, Hasheem Thabeet, Marcus Williams, Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor, Caron Butler, Doron Sheffer and Donyell Marshall, and out of that group, Napier is the only player to do it twice.
Outside of Napier's performance, the Huskies got a major shot in the arm from Niels Giffey, who scored 15 points off of five consecutive threes in the first half to break a 9-9 tie and give UConn a big lead they would never relinquish. Omar Calhoun added three of his own to lead the team with 18 points, and overall the team shot 56.5 percent from the floor.
The one problem area for the Huskies was, once again, rebounding. The Huskies were out-rebounded by Yale 36-26, and while it's not usually a good sign when your point guard is also your leading rebounder – as Napier was with 11 – it's even worse when your second, third and fourth leading rebounders are your OTHER point guards. Terrance Samuel, Ryan Boatright and Lasan Kromah each had three boards, and Giffey was next up with two.
Phillip Nolan? He had one. Tyler Olander? None, and he barely played. DeAndre Daniels? Absolutely dreadful. He had one board and didn't score in 18 minutes. The only remote bright spot was Amida Brimah, who had seven points and only one rebound, but made up for that by blocking a preposterous seven (7!!!) shots. Kentan Facey also got his first game action, but he was largely a non-factor.
"That's not Connecticut basketball, getting out-rebounded like that," Kevin Ollie told reporters after the game. "In the second half, they took it to us on the rebounding and that's what I'm dejected about. Our rebounding effort is pride, we didn't have the pride to put on our jersey today. It just can't happen if you want to be a great team. I think this team can be great, but with that effort, with what's coming down the pike, we can't have it."
UConn needs to do better on the boards if they're going to beat the tougher teams on their schedule, and I have a feeling that Ollie is going to put the bigs through hell this week to make sure they're ready. The Huskies are back in action this Thursday at Gampel Pavilion against Detroit, so hopefully there will be some improvement by then.