MEMPHIS — The game had broken down, the Huskies were down by 20, so only so much can be read into it.
But it was a good chance for the Huskies to get more work against Louisville's zone defense, with it's pressure and match-up properties. In that context, they clicked over the final 12-15 minutes of the AAC championship game.
"You have to have a different mindset against the zone," said UConn's Niels Giffey, who scored seven points. "You have to think about everything you're doing, because it's so different."
UConn was 14-for-28 in the second half, and had 10 assists on those 14 baskets. They were able to find the open man in the middle, DeAndre Daniels and Amida Brimah, for the easy baskets.
"That's something we're going to look at on tape and keep improving," coach Kevin Ollie said, "I liked the ball movement. … That's how you beat the zone. You get it to the high post and you make plays. Our guards started passing it in there and we were making shots. That's what we're going to need to do going forward so we will be able to play against the match-up zone. You never know what's going to happen in the NCAA Tournament. Every coach comes up with something new."
The Huskies shot 29.4 percent for the game against Louisville's zone a week ago and 35.2 percent at Gampel Pavilion on Jan. 18. The Cardinals have been playing nearly all man-to-man defense this year, but have gone to the zone in their three games against UConn.
No. 1 In The Cards?
Louisville's late-season surge has some projecting they could be a No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but the Cardinals' strength of schedule, especially out of conference, hurts their RPI. "Do I think we should be? Yes," coach Rick Pitino said. "Do I think we will be? No." … Shabazz Napier and Louisville's Chris Jones were called for double technicals with 7:48 to go. Elbows were thrown, and Napier told the refs he was hit in the mouth. "He elbowed me in my mouth and I just moved his hand," Napier said. … Russ Smith, who scored 42 against Houston in the semifinals, and had 19 points and five steals against UConn, was the tournament's most outstanding player. The all-tournament team was Napier, Louisville's Montrezl Harrell and Chris Jones, Central Florida's Isaiah Sykes and Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick. … In addition to UConn, Louisville also had three wins over Rutgers and Houston. … The Cardinals have won 12 consecutive postseason games and 21 of their last 22. … Asked where the Huskies improved in this tournament, Ryan Boatright said, "We played better team defense; everybody rotated better." … The Huskies will gather at Gampel Pavilion for the NCAA selection show Sunday night and then meet reporters afterward. … "It's a great thing to hopefully see your name called and be with all your teammates and see everyone smiling," Napier said, "and knowing you have a chance to hoist another trophy."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun