Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Things to ponder after the Bryant game

Some numbers from Monday night’s game against Bryant to ponder before UConn opens its season at home against Quinnipiac on Friday.

Doug Wiggins had five turnovers for the game, four of which were committed in the first half. Since he played 10 minutes in each half, obviously the learning curve ran through him.

But the East Hartford product also added three assists in the second half while pulling down seven (yes, seven) rebounds for the game.

Head coach Jim Calhoun mentioned in his post-game thoughts that at times, Wiggins plays out of control. This contrasts his thoughts on sophomore Craig Austrie, who Calhoun believes plays too conservatively.

After the first day of practice, I asked Austrie if he was willing to take more chances now that he has played one year of college basketball. He said yes, but the one aspect of his game that he takes pride in the most is his assist-to-turnover ratio.

Numbers from last night:
AUSTRIE – 12 minutes, three points, two assists, one turnover.

What numbers don’t show is this.

Calhoun would like to run with this group of guards. All are proven playmakers and all have legitimate shooting range. At times, Austrie pulled up on the break to set up the offense. He also had trouble working through screens to start the game against Chris Burns, who then calmly sank two 3-pointers within the first minute.

Calhoun also mentioned that Austrie is 11-0 as a starter last year.

He also had guys named Gay, Boone, Armstrong and Brown to help out.

Now he has eight freshmen and two of those players are guards who showed quality flashes over the two exhibitions. Even though UConn committed 22 turnovers, the emphasis is not on conservative play, it’s on learning from mistakes and taking chances.

It’s a theme that runs continuously through this year’s team.

OTHER NUMERICAL FACTORS THAT WILL BE ADDRESSED

1) FOUL SHOOTING
21-for-37
2) FAST BREAK POINTS
BRYANT 9, UCONN 8
3) POINTS IN THE PAINT
UCONN 18, BRYANT 14
4) SECOND-CHANCE POINTS
UCONN 16, BRYANT 10

PROOF THAT NUMBERS TELL A DIFFERENT STORY
Jeff Adrien is not the same player he was last year right now. Calhoun said he is not pleased with the sophomore’s effort and has been displeased with his performance in practice as well.

Adrien said he is physically fine, just adjusting. His line from last night:

23 MINS, 15 PTS., 5 REBS., 9-12 FTs

Most of his points were from the foul line and all but two of his second-half points were scored from there. He only pulled down one rebound in the second half and had trouble elevating on short jumpers and put-backs.

Statistically, Adrien played well, but Calhoun also mentioned that he struggled with 6-foot-6 forwards on a Division II level. In other words, Adrien had trouble with players he had his way with last season.

More later.

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