UConn’s last losing campaign came in 1986-87—Jim Calhoun’s first year.
Exactly 30 years later, it’s looking like Calhoun’s hand-picked successor, Kevin Ollie, is heading toward the same fate. The circumstances are far from ideal, but the losses need to stop piling up.
The latest affirmation of that is UConn’s 61-59 overtime defeat at Tulsa on Saturday. The Huskies have lost three straight, now sitting at 5-8 this season, and have started out 0-2 in American play for the second time in the last four years.
Blame the injuries, the unlucky bounces, blame whatever you like.
Here’s the bottom line: In the 2016 calendar year, UConn went 21-16 and the grass doesn’t look all much greener for the rest of this season.
On Saturday, despite having five extra minutes, UConn failed to score 60 points for the fifth time already this season. That matches its total from all of last year. Keep in mind, there are still 17 regular season games to go plus the AAC Tournament.
Even with Jalen Adams back in the mix—the closest thing to a healthy point guard on the roster was missing for Wednesday’s loss to Houston and the end of the loss to Auburn—UConn had twice as many turnovers (16) as assists (8). On the season, the Huskies have 163 assists and 165 turnovers.
Adams finished with an impressive line of 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists, but it took him 17 shots to get there. It doesn’t help that he’s constantly double-and-triple-teamed as the only mildly consistent offensive threat on the floor, but he missed his last six shots.
How about Rodney Purvis? He scored 21 points on 15 shots in UConn’s win over Syracuse. In five games since, the Ferrari has scored 65 points on 74 shots—a 28% clip.
I promise I don’t mean to be cynical. But, aside from the respectable defense UConn is playing (37th nationally in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency), there just aren’t many positive takeaways from most of these games. This was not a great Tulsa team UConn just lost to.
Up next is a date at Memphis on Thursday. The Tigers looked really good in a 16-point win over South Carolina on Friday, and they recently stole a road win at Oklahoma. Tubby Smith’s first year at the helm could be a deemed a success, at least up to this point.
UConn needs to quickly turn things around otherwise the program will be hitting some new lows this season.