Fantasy College Basketball Game of the Week: Washington at Connecticut
It has been my longstanding belief that there should be no more than one team with each mascot in college basketball. The brightest young minds in the country should have the creativity to come up with interesting and appropriate names for their schools' sports teams. I give Lipscomb credit for coming up with a new name, but minus points for the lack of grammatical knowledge (Bisons?). The SEC is particularly egregious with a set of Tigers and Wildcats. One year there should be tournament between teams of the same name to determine who gets to keep it. Wouldn't you like to see Arizona and Kentucky play for the right to remain Wildcats? What if Villanova upset both of them to keep the name? On Saturday, the two Tier 1 teams named the Huskies faced off with Washington visiting Connecticut
My overall impression of the two teams was not overly hopeful. Things will have to change to see either team in the NCAA tournament. Connecticut did open the season with a nice win over Michigan State, but has not beaten anyone of note since. They lost to New Mexico and North Carolina State. The main problem is the same as the start of the season. The Huskies East have two high usage, 6-0 guards in Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. This makes for a good situation for fantasy owners as the two players will get their numbers in most games. As such, Napier had 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three steals, while Boatright contributed 12 points and three assists. The two combined to shoot 8-of-21 from the field, which is slightly below their combined 45.8 percent. Napier seems to be willing to defer to Boatright and the other UConn players in the first 30 minutes, but the last 10 minutes of the game are Shabazz time.
For the first time in the last few years, Washington doesn't look like it has any NBA-level players. Coach Lorenzo Romar has had a steady stream on drafted players: Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten, Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Pondexter, Spencer Hawes, Brandon Roy, Nate Robinson, and even Jon Brockman since 2005. At one point, point guard Abdul Gaddy was a high profile recruit, but he was stuck behind Thomas then Wroten with the Huskies West. He looked like a competent backup point guard at this point after tearing his ACL two year ago. Against UConn's quick guards, Gaddy was unable to penetrate the defense and the UW offense looked ugly. Offenses will tend to do that when they hit less than 30 percent of their shots. C.J. Wilcox had a rough time from the perimeter and scored a season-low five points. He is one of the most consistent scorers in the Pac 12, but just couldn't find any opening versus the Killer Bees.
I thought the Washington bigs would be able to take advantage of Connecticut's relative lack of size, but Desmond Simmons and Aziz N'Diaye combined for six points. Simmons did have 10 rebounds. Perhaps having a slight advantage isn't as the big factor (pun intended) that I have thought. As long as a team has functional and willing low post defenders - which UConn does in Tyler Olander and Enosch Wolf. Other teams, such as Illinois, seem to be doing ok without much offense from their bigs. This may be a trend to watch.