COLLEGE PARK, MD. — The University of Connecticut (there are three C's in ‘Connecticut’) Huskies beat the University of Maryland Terrapins tonight, 87-81. The two teams alternated quarters, with the Huskies winning the first and third, and the Terrapins taking the second and fourth.
The Huskies won the first quarter by eight, and the third quarter by ten, and were beat by three in the second and nine in the fourth. This is Maryland’s first loss of the season, and is now the 87th win in a row for UConn. Now that I’ve fulfilled my journalistic duties by laying out the facts, let’s get into the fun stuff:
One of the things that I talked about in my preview of this game (plug plug plug) was how Maryland blew UConn out of the water when it came to advanced statistics. I still thought that UConn would win, but it seemed like it would be more a game than a typical Huskie can-of-ass-whooping.
And it was; as detailed above, Maryland won the second and fourth quarters. But there is something about this UConn team; they remind me of the early 2010s Miami Heat, who would coast along in a game until it was time to bear down, and suddenly turn into the best team in the country.
UConn does the same thing; they fire on all cylinders, chill while their opponent attempts to catch up, and then pour on the gas and light a match when they do.
The danger with that, of course, is the time that the engine just won’t start up. UConn is clearly the best team in the nation, and has the best coach in the country, and has the best overall program in the country.
However, they aren’t invincible; they aren’t infallible, especially when coming up against a team of Maryland’s caliber. Where this is really concerning is during March Madness, when they’ll run into teams that give their all because they know this could be their last game; and if UConn starts slow, they could be taken advantage of. But probably not, because they won four championships in a row. So.
I was going to have some advanced stats but wbbstate.com is down, and I have an English degree, and also I cried when I took my final math class in college, so I’m certainly not even remotely qualified to actually calculate that stuff.
The only one I did calculate was points per possession, and UConn was at 1.3 (which, what the heck, UConn) and Maryland was at 1.2 (which is dope too but not quite ‘dope’ enough [idk why I put ‘’ on that]).
So, no advanced stats, but I do have some words on the players. First word: ESPN, why do you not keep up with how many minutes are played? That can’t be that hard to keep track of. That has to be, like, the easiest thing to do besides rebounds.
Person goes in, mark the time.
Person comes out, mark the time.
Anyway, for maybe the first time is ten years, UConn didn’t have the best player on the floor. My picks would be between Destiny Slocum (23 points, 5-10 from beyond the arc, seven assists), or Brionna Jones (19 points, 6-7 from the field, 7-9 at the charity stripe, 13 boards, nine defensive boards).
They were great, as were many of the Terrapins. My pick for best Husky would have to be Katie Lou Samuelson, who lead UConn in scoring with 23, or Gabby Williams, who as a guard grabbed nine rebounds, and 16 points.
Overall, it was a fun game between two tremendous teams. Another thing I talked about in the preview was how Maryland had played a weaker schedule than UConn; I said that it didn’t necessarily mean that Maryland was bad, and I think that was vindicated.
This is still a really great team, whose numbers were probably a bit inflated; but they showed they can hang with the best team in college basketball, and that’s not nothing.
Maryland travels to Minnesota on New Year’s day, tip off at 6 pm; UConn heads to the University of Central Florida, also on New Year’s Day, with a 1 pm jump ball.