Kevin Ollie has some soul-searching to do after UConn’s lackadaisical performance in a 102-67 embarrassment at the hands of Arkansas on Sunday.
The Huskies were anemic on offense (what else is new), played with near-apathy on defense and had given up about midway through the second half.
We’d make a comment about how Bill Walton was going off on the Oregon Trail instead of paying attention to the game during the second half, but he was doing that anyway.
Something has to change.
Ollie is in his sixth season as head coach, and by now it’s clear that his approach to offense isn’t working.
UConn has plenty of individual talent, but it’s not being utilized properly, and the focus on one-on-one play and lack of ball movement is making the Huskies one of the easiest teams in the sport to guard.
Jalen Adams is a gifted offensive player. He can break people down and get to the rim like few guards in the country. But he’s not Allen Iverson, and this isn’t the mid-2000’s NBA.
Ollie seems to have extracted his offensive concepts from the Iverson-era Sixers, where he spent the majority of his NBA career.
Terry Larrier is long, athletic, and a good shooter. But you can’t just give him the ball and expect him to make something happen. Same goes for Alterique Gilbert, Christian Vital, and everybody else on this team.
UConn had four team assists in their win over Oregon on Thursday. Four. They had six in the loss to Michigan State, and nine in the Arkansas humiliation.
That’s not good enough.
Even Walton, who was going off on soliloquies about rivers and almost reading passages from Phil Knight’s “Shoe Dog” book during the broadcast, had UConn’s offense completely broken down in the minute and a half in which he paid attention.
“When has that ever gone in?” Walton quipped after Larrier launched a desperate, falling-down 3 that might have nicked the side of the backboard.
“Kevin Ollie just needs somebody to hit five three-pointers in a row, and then they’ll be back in this one,” he noted minutes later.
The sad thing is, that was pretty much the plan.
Ollie has done some great things in his time at UConn–he’s recruited very well, his teams are always sound defensively (although not on Sunday), and they’ve led the nation in free throw percentage (fundamentals).
But if he can’t figure out how to get this group of talented offensive players to put the ball in the basket, he’s not going to last much longer.
Maybe it’s time to give Jim Calhoun a call.
He wouldn’t have put up with this, and UConn fans shouldn’t have to, either.