After shocking opening week losses, what’s next for UConn?

AP Photo
AP Photo

(WTNH)–So yeah, how about those Huskies?

Most UConn fans are just now realizing that the season has started, and already the Huskies have two ugly losses on their resume. They’re 0-2 for the first time since 1968, and after losing to Wagner and Northeastern, look like they’d be a halfway decent team—in the Northeast Conference.

So, where does UConn go from here? Can they pick up the pieces and put together a successful season? Will these losses end up haunting them all year long?

It’s not like UConn is the only team to fall victim to a massive early-season upset. In fact, those types of early-season results are fairly common. It’s just–the Huskies don’t play in the Big East anymore. They don’t have a Top-25 schedule to fall back on, and now, they’ll really have to take advantage of opportunities for quality wins going forward.

Sure, this team is young, and its highly-recruited, talented pieces haven’t figured out a way to play with each other yet. That’s understandable. But there’s still enough returning talent on this squad to expect better than this.

Specifically, there are a few reasons for disappointment:

Connecticut's Amida Brimah blocks a shot attempt by Northeastern's TJ Williams in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
UConn fans will want to see a lot more of this from Brimah this season. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Amida Brimah.

The SEVEN-FOOT, 230-POUND SENIOR (felt like we needed to emphasize that) has NINE POINTS TOTAL through two games. Nine. Again, those two games were against Wagner and Northeastern. Just for clarity.

He’s also picked up seven fouls, and played just 26 minutes in each game. If Brimah wants to have any shot at making it at the next level, he’s simply got to be much better than that. Against this type of competition, he should be putting up at least 20 and 10, and blocking 8 shots (which he did do on Monday).

Poor shooting.

UConn is shooting just 37.5 percent from the field and just 27.5 percent (11-for-40) from three. Sophomore Jalen Adams was miserable in the opener against Wagner, putting up just 9 points on 4-for-15 shooting. Senior Rodney Purvis shot 2-for-7 and 3-for-9 in the first two games, including going 2-for-10 from three.

Everybody loves to jack up threes in today’s game, but Kevin Ollie has got to reign these guys in until someone proves they can consistently hit a jump shot. More ball movement, sharper cuts and better decisions should be the focus from here on.

VCU transfer Terry Larrier (18 ppg, 5.5 rpg) has been the team’s go-to-guy and best player, and that’s sad considering the fact that no one knew exactly what his role would be on this squad.

VCU transfer Terry Larrier has been UConn's best player through two games. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
VCU transfer Terry Larrier has been UConn’s best player through two games. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

A lack of rebounding. Again.

Once again, UConn is struggling in the rebounding department, despite having several guys who should be ripping down double-digit boards per game, especially against the competition they’ve faced so far.

Brimah leads the way (thank god) at 6 per. Larrier is averaging 5.5 per. Those numbers just aren’t good enough.

Can UConn turn things around against Loyola Marymount on Thursday? We’d hope so. If they can’t, it’s going to be a loooong year. But this is the last tune-up game before the Huskies travel to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational, where they’ll face Oklahoma State on Wednesday. North Carolina, Georgetown, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Oregon are also in the field, and the Huskies could use at least a couple of quality wins to offset their embarassing first week.

Of all the on-court disadvantages of playing in the American Athletic Conference, this is the most annoying. November games mean a lot more than they used to for the Huskies, because opportunities for quality wins come January and February are scarce.

The college basketball season is barely a week old, and already UConn finds itself in an unenviable position.

There’s plenty of time to right the ship, but it’s got to start right now.

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