If the script looks familiar it should. The Huskies, after an unremarkable first two-and-a-half months of the season, suddenly look like a very dangerous team. Except that the transformation hasn't been sudden at all.
As Kevin Ollie would no doubt attest, it's been a gradual transformation to get his players on the same page, and more importantly, take some of the pressure off senior point guard Ryan Boatright. On Thursday, a month after Tulsa easily beat UConn, the defending national champs returned the favor -- and then some -- with a 70-45 shellacking at the XL Center.
We don't know if it was a signature win, but it was UConn's third straight, repeating a theme we've seen played out in February, March and April as recently as last season.
The Huskies jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back; exactly what Ollie has been preaching for weeks now. Freshman Daniel Hamilton pulled 11 rebounds and transfer Rodney Purvis, who has been much more consistent recently, scored 17 points. Boatright, not surprisingly, was good for 23 points to go along with eight assists.
“He’s just getting better every day,” Ollie said of Boatright, according to the New Haven Register. “He’s learning how to talk to his teammates. With Ryan, he says the right things, but sometimes it doesn’t come out the right way. And now, he’s really just talking to them, explaining what he wants.”
“When it’s time to take over a game, he’s starting to get that switch where, ‘Alright, it’s my time.’”
And that's bad news for the rest of the American Athletic Conference. And like any great leader, Boatright isn't one to live in the past. He's already moved on to SMU, UConn's next opponent.
“They play tremendous defense, great team defense," he said. "They communicate extremely well, they’re physical, they’re balanced, they’ve got great guards. They’ve got guys in the frontcourt that can produce. They’re a tough team.”