UConn (4-4) will play its final game pre-Christmas on Monday night against Columbia at 7:30 p.m. on SNY at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
UConn head coach Kevin Ollie swears its going to turn around. UConn is 4-4, a rare mediocre record this time of year for UConn, with the fifth toughest strength of schedule in the country, and its mainly because of one thing -- shooting.
Point guard Ryan Boatright is carrying the Huskies this season with 19.2 points per game and 44. 2 percent shooting. He's stepped into Shabazz Napier's shoes and been as productive as Napier.
But who's stepped in Boatright's shoes?
No one right now. And, that's the major problem.
The off-guard spot is a revolving door of inefficiency this season as injuries and bad shooting has ground UConn's offense to a halt. Rodney Purvis, who was expected to be that secondary scorer, has had ankle injures and really doesn't look comfortable yet. Sam Cassell Jr. has struggled since the games started and only made a cameo last Thursday against Duke. He's shooting 29.8 percent form the floor and 24.2 percent from 3. Omar Calhoun came back, but missed both of his shots against Duke. Can he get back to what he was as a freshman two years ago?
Then there is Terrence Samuel, a breakout change of place player during last season's national title run, who has struggled at the rim finishing and hasn't hit a 3-pointer in his career thus far.
The problems affect the entire lineup. Samuel can't shoot, but as a point guard allows Boatright to go off ball and create -- UConn's best offense this season. When Boatright dominates the ball, Purvis and Cassell Jr. aren't finishing shots.
Rodney Purvis Stat Summary:
The frustrating part for the Huskies is the shots are there. UConn is explosive off the dribble and has players who can finish inside in Amida Brimah and Kentan Facey. On penetration, the 3-point shot is open and available, but none of the shooting guards are making it. '
Ollie sounds like he is looking for some shooting this season.
"We can't shoot 29 percent from three with our dribble-penetration capability," Ollie said, via the Hartford Courant, to reports Sunday . "We've got to hit some shots. … Hopefully, we're getting better. We're battle-tested, and that's going to come out sooner or later. I believe we're building something special and we're going to burst open soon."
The Huskies are going to need to breakout soon. There are previous few chances for the rest of this season to impress with an underwhelming American Schedule coming in the New Year. The Huskies can ill-afford upset losses on nights it doesn't shoot well.
If that happens, trying to win an NCAA title once again will end before it begins in March.
|#10||Sam Cassell Jr.||8||2||21.9||6.1||29.8||2.0||1.4||0.8||0.0|