The Bulls were a team that attacks the paint. USF scored 40 points in the paint against Rutgers, 54 against UCF, 28 against Cincinnati and 40 in a shocking win over SMU.
The Bulls attack the rim. That's their style.
What UConn did to UCF in an 80-43 victory on Wednesday was staggering.
The gameplan for the Huskies was to lock up USF and keep them out.
UConn didn't just lock up the paint and USF on defense. That doesn't do it justice. UConn shut off USF's offense in the paint, and suffocated the perimeter shooting holding the Bulls to 24 percent shooting. USF, which had lived in the paint this year, managed only 16 points in the paint all game. It was a struggle to get even there for the Bulls.
It started early with a couple of blocks from Amida Brimah. Ryan Boatright played stellar pressure on the point guard spot and the wings such as Lasan Kromah, DeAndre Daniels and others got out on shooters.
The Huskies put away the game at the half, leading 45-14, and held USF to six points in the paint in the first half and 4 of 23 shooting. Not a single USF player hit double figures.
UConn led by as many as 47 in the win, 74-27 before walk-ons entered the game.
"It's a collective group effort. When we play D, we have 10 eyes on the ball and pack the paint, make them shoot 3s and not give them layups," Ollie said. "They stayed to the gameplan and I am real proud of my guys."
This is nothing new for the Huskies. UConn has a lot of firepower on offense and came into the season with a lot of answers. As the season has evolved for the Huskies, 19-5 overall, the team's mindset has shifted. UConn has turned into a defensive team that can gameplan and take away what the opponents try to do.
UConn has all the ingredients to have a great defense. UConn has guards in Boatright and Shabazz Napier that can pressure the ball. It has wings like Niels Giffey and Kromah that can play the small forwards on the perimeter. The emergence of a shot blocker in Amida Brimah and the improved rebounding of DeAndre Daniels and others has UConn as one of the top defenses in the country.
That's where UConn starts, on defense, and that's where the focus is.
"We work on it everyday in practice," Daniels said. "K-O (Ollie), that's his main focus and he doesn't care about offense. Defense wins games. Today, we did a great job and were communicating."
When UConn gets that defense going it can overwhelm teams.
"The last four games we have been holding teams combined to 33 percent," Ollie said. "I want to keep this momentum going and keep playing defense. I tell them to bring their locks. That's our motto right now. Bring our locks and be on lockdown defense."
UConn doesn't have a defensive style and outside of some heft inside, much weakness on defense. UConn adapts its defense to what other teams do. The film work and gameplan, when executed, have caused some lopsided results recently. UConn beat Temple 90-66, Houston 80-43, UCF 75-55 and now USF 83-40.
Each gameplan was unique and executed perfectly. That's as much to do with experience as ability. The Huskies are a veteran team starting two seniors and two juniors to go along with a freshman. The Huskies bring experience off the bench and it shows on defense. This isn't one great shotblocker controlling things. It's a unit locking down.
The Huskies are holding teams to 38.3 percent shooting and only 31.4 percent from 3-point range. They defend the entire floor and have become a terrific unit as well as individual defenders.
"If we stay focused and key on the little things, and be there and have each others back and stay solid we have a chance to be a really good defensive team," Kromah said. "The scheme of things, just because we are an older team, a mistake happens once, and we don't let it happen a game. Being an older team is beneficial."
The Huskies will have a more difficult task on Saturday with Memphis and you can bet Ollie and the coaching staff already have an idea in mind what they want to do. The next step is getting the Huskies to execute it.
Lately, that hasn't been much of a problem.