First Half Recap
UConn has played one of its most complete halves of the season, and Shabazz Napier only played 10 minutes. The huskies got off to a big lead early, finding themselves up 10-2 at first media timeout, led by 2 alley oops from Amida Brimah and fantastic ball pressure from Ryan Boatright.
With UConn up 45-14, this half has given Ollie a chance to try out plenty of different line ups, and nearly every one excelled. With Napier on the bench with 9 minutes to play in the half, Terrance Samuel came in and made a major difference. Both him and Kentan Facey looked like they are plenty deserving of some looks in the rotation as the season moves along.
Maybe the most enjoyable part of the last hour was watching Amida Brimah swat away 4 shots. UConn had 8 blocks as team, matching their season high. This really is an impressive stat against USF who's essentially only strength is their inside play. I love the way we have looked, and with Shabazz anxious to get out there, I don't see why it won't continue.
At this point in the season, our huskies cannot lose to a bottom 5 team in the AAC. This is perhaps the most top heavy conference UConn has been a part of in recent memory, as all 5 teams in the top half of the conference are ranked while the bottom 5 aren't even close to the bubble.
That being said, USF has a trio of talented big men that could give UConn some trouble. We have had inconsistent play from our bigs all year, but Phil Nolan has has really come along as of late, scoring in double figures in 2 of his last 3 games. Look for Big Phil to continue momentum he's been building on, giving the huskies an inside presence to neutralize USF's strength.
Ryan Boatright has been struggling lately, saying to the Courant's Dom Amore "I haven't shot this bad since fourth grade." He claims it is due to a nagging shoulder injury since the pre-season, but hopefully he can find a way to right the ship. When Shabazz is shooting as poorly as he did against Cincinnati, Ryan Boatright will need to be ready to step up.
With a storm approaching CT, and classes looking bleak, I see our boys starting the day off right with a stress-free victory.
UConn 70 USF 54