I just can’t stop thinking and reading about last night’s game. I should be working. But I just can’t stop.
- UConn blog Sox & Dawgs has a link dump of about twenty-five game stories, mostly from various Connecticut newspapers. If you (like me) are still jonesing for more coverage and you’ve exhausted the CNY and national media outlets, dig in. I particularly liked this one. Short, but captures a lot of the essence of the contest.
- Pete Thamel of the New York Times gives us the Justin Thomas moment of the game. I give JT major props for stepping up — remember, he entered partway through OT #5, and SU was trailing at the time. He had the best “plus-minus” of anyone on the roster, as SU outscored UConn by 14 after he entered the game. Clearly he was the missing ingredient all along.
- Underrated play of the game: Hasheem Thabeet’s fifth foul early in OT #4. Rick Jackson had, not thirty seconds earlier, been DQed himself, leaving us with naught but Kris Joseph to match up against Thabeet. At that point I figured we were done. But when Hasheem was similarly sent to the bench, the door that seemed to be closing fast was suddenly opened wide again. (As was the paint area.) With neither team having much frontcourt presence remaining, it became a guards’ game, and the Orange backcourt is better than the Huskies’ (without Dyson anyway). They do so little scoring from outside in general, and when their interior game dried up they were reduced to hoping A J Price could carry them on his own. Meanwhile, the vaunted Syracuse Balanced Attack was ultimately better equipped to survive. Some bitter UConn fans on the comment boards are complaining about the fouling out of Thabeet, but it’s his own fault for not recognizing that he had suddenly become immensely more valuable and for not playing more cautiously in loose-ball situations so as to preserve the advantage. Plus, even after that happened they still had Edwards running around for a while longer. So shut your yaps.
- Speaking of a dried-up interior game, what in the world happened to Jeff Adrien as the game went on? He was in there for either all or almost all of the overtime. He’s one of the top 15 players in the conference (as voted by the coaches — he was third team all-conference this season). And yet in all those minutes of overtime, with teammates fouling out around him, he was a paltry 2-7 from the floor and 0-2 from the line. He did grab about a dozen rebounds in OT, but when UConn’s offense was struggling for good shots, he was nowhere to be seen on the offensive end. In fact, five of his seven shot attempts in OT were on offensive rebound putbacks. Meanwhile, guys like Kemba Walker and Craig Austrie were launching shot after shot. Maybe Adrien ran out of gas, maybe he was just not comfortable creating his own shot against the zone. Whatever it was, the fact remains that in a big spot, he came up small. (Not that I’m complaining!)
- I’m giggling every time I hear someone say “sextuple”. Sounds naughty.
OK, I’ve got to stop this before the entire day gets away from me. See you all tomorrow after the WVU game.