Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Delayed UConn Fallout

WARNING: Explicit College Hoops Content To Follow

This probably should have been posted Monday night, but I watched Footloose with Christina and Katie, then was really worried you all would think I had some obsession with Paris Hilton's address book and pornography, so I really wanted to get my semi-intelligent 1100 words on my reasoning posted. Then we came up with the dance tournament idea, one thing led to another and I'm just now talking about the first blowout loss the Irish have suffered since early December.

I'm not particularly concerned by it, mainly because UConn is slowly molding itself into a formidable tournament team. They've got a deep four-man, part-NBA-level rotation inside, two guys who can grab you twenty points a game on the wings (Gay and Brown, three if Anderson gets healthy) and a point guard whose developing into one of the best in the country.

The following are the stats of five different point guards over the last four games. It's not the entire season, just the last couple of weeks as teams make that final drive for tournament seeding. Think you can match the baller to his stat-line?

1. Chris Paul, Wake Forest
2. Dee Brown, Illinois
3. Marcus Williams, UConn
4. Raymond Felton, UNC
5. Gerry McNamara, Syracuse

Baller A: 9.8 assists, 3.3 turnovers, 15.3 points on 46% shooting
Baller B: 7.5 assists, 3.5 turnovers, 15.3 points on 44% shooting
Baller C: 7.5 assists, 2.3 turnovers, 15 points on 49% shooting
Baller D: 4.3 assists, 1.7 turnovers, 15.8 points on 59% shooting
Baller E: 6.5 assists, 2.3 turnovers, 15.3 points on 31 % shooting

The correct answers?

1. Chris Paul: B
2. Dee Brown: D
3. Marcus Williams: A
4. Raymond Felton: C
5. Gerry McNamara: E

So basically what you're seeing is a guy in his first year at point guard taking up just where Taleik Brown left off after winning the championship last year: Winning games and being completely and totally underrated. Williams is putting up more assists than anyone else on the board, and is being just as productive pointswise as his more heralded peers. (This is obviously excluding Dee Brown's insane shooting percentage, but since we've already decided Illinois is far and away the best team in the country, it's hard to compare one man to the Brown-Williams-Head monster.)

I'm bringing up how well Williams is playing for two reasons. The first is that I can't get too upset about a loss when we're on the road against team that's playing like the defending national champion again. Secondly, is that when you start thinking about filling out your bracket, UConn is looking like a solid pick for the Sweet Sixteen/Elite Eight, if not farther, depending on how the match-ups break down.

We'll get into some more intense Bracketology as we get closer to March - most likely over the majority of Spring Break - but for now, let's just say that Wake Forest made a big statement Sunday (That they couldn't guard me on the perimeter) and that OK State has made things really confusing for me (By losing to Nebraska last night).

Happy Hooping and Happy Hump Day.

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