Lots of people speculating on Johnson turnovers, Kendall's missed FT, RayD's defense, blown calls. All of those had an impact, but the biggest impact on the overtime period was the absence of Hammons in the middle. Three time (THREE!) little baby Spike Albright(?) drove into the lane and drew Peck away from Morgan. Tiny Spike was in no way going to shoot, but Peck has been conditioned to help on driving guards, while either Hammons or Simpson guards the basket. If Hammons were in, you can absolutely cancel out all three of those dunks. Hammons knows how to hedge the guard but still has the height to take away a lob pass and the length to recover if Spike manages to get the pass to Morgan.
This is no fault of Peck's, he's playing defense the way he has all year, but he is not a center. Had Hammons or Jay been in, Spike would have either turned it over or dribbled back out to the perimeter. Hammons didn't really have any "bad" fouls, so it's not his fault. Jay was unable to play for medical reasons. Tacos simply could not compete with Michigan's speed on the court.
We played very well last night. We should have won the game. I almost threw up when GRIII hit that stupid floater. But I honestly believe that this loss could help more than a win. We saw the picture of Kendall putting up foul shots after the game. He didn't need to do that, he's one of the best foul shooters on the team. The team also battled after Michigan stormed back, something a young team generally doesn't do. The way we come out and compete against Iowa will be telling, but I think our team learned from the game last night. The rest of the season doesn't matter, so it's even more important that our players prepare and compete like every game is an elimination game. I think that they are learning.
A previously subpar UConn team finished 9th in the Big East in 2011 and went on to win 11 straight games straight to the national title. I'm not saying that we are going to win it all, but I am saying that sometimes a team can "figure it out" and get better literally overnight. Maybe among all of the pain, instability, and heavy alcohol consumption that has accompanied this season, we have finally witnessed a group of players becoming a team.