Categorized | Technology

A Question Of Maturity For Kevin Ollie’s UConn Basketball Team

Maturity won 72-62 Saturday at the XL Center.

Immaturity lost last weekend at Auburn and, cruelly, could lose again Wednesday night at Tulsa.

At first glance, many among the first UConn sellout crowd since February 2016 may have wondered how this Wichita State team is ranked No. 8 in the nation. After watching Michigan State, Arkansas and Arizona against the Huskies and seeing all sorts of intimidating teams on television, the 15,564 fans certainly were not intimidated into silence on this afternoon.

Yet to understand how the Shockers dealt with the infuriating curveballs of travel, dealt with a loud, packed arena in the program’s first American Athletic Conference game, dealt with anything UConn threw at them, is to understand the virtues of an experienced team.

Kevin Ollie said. “We battled. But that’s a team that has played a lot of big-time games together.”

“One thing I loved was we didn’t stop,” UConn guard Christian Vital said. “We stayed together the entire time. They won by 10, but it didn’t feel like a 10-point loss.”

No, it did not. UConn had a 43-42 lead after a Vital drive with 13:02 left. UConn tied the game with 9:25 left after another Vital drive. If you’re thinking this is where I’m going to go crazy driving home the point that the Huskies failed to produce or get stops in the final five minutes, you’re wrong.

The point that needs to be driven home here is that after battling against a high-quality opponent they can’t fall apart in the ugliest of ways. That’s what happened against Arkansas out in Portland after the Michigan State loss. That’s what happened at Auburn after the Arizona loss. Ollie should have handed out postage stamps after Arkansas and Auburn; that’s how badly his team mailed in those games. That’s how quickly it threw up the white flag of humiliation in losing by 35 and 25 points.

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