As the No. 17 Connecticut Huskies have proven to be a talented squad, one thing is very evident: they have major frontcourt issues. It’s so bad, in fact, that Phillip Nolan, who actually lost his starting job, has been the best “big man” for Connecticut and is putting up 3.8 points and 2.7 rebounds. Yikes.
Add 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game for Amida Brimah with 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds per game for Tyler Olander and you have a very pathetic output. As seen against a team like the Houston Cougars on Tuesday night, if the opposition has a strong, physical big man, they will be able to use him to completely dominate the Huskies on the inside both offensively and defensively. Now Houston is not going to appear in the NCAA Tournament, but once you play teams with two or three efficient inside players, Connecticut could be, for lack of a better word, screwed.
Head coach Kevin Ollie has consistently been putting out a small lineup because he notices what everyone else does: He doesn’t have an effective player at the “five” position. To add, DeAndre Daniels is the furthest thing from physical at the “four,” and the team is having major rebounding issues as a result. Daniels, at 6-foot-10, plays significant minutes but still only pulls down less than five boards per game.
While Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright have been carrying this team and have done so in dazzling fashion, the lack of any inside presence will be the downfall of this year’s Huskies team.