I wasn’t present in Germany for UConn’s season-opening 66-62 upset over Michigan State, so you’ll have to settle for thoughts from my couch.
*Look, it’s the first game of the year, so anything can happen going forward. But that was an enormous win for Kevin Ollie and UConn. Effort was there from start-to-finish, and for the most part, so was execution. That’s all you can ask for if you’re Warde Manuel.
*Shabazz Napier (25 points) and Ryan Boatright (13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists) were the catalysts, but DeAndre Daniels came up big for the Huskies, too. Daniels, a long 6-foot-8 wing, needs to be a force on the glass, and he outscrapped and outhustled the Spartan big men. He finished with 12 points, seven boards (a few timely ones) and two blocks, a solid all-around performance. Because of his ability to rebound, run the floor and drag opposing big men out of the paint, Daniels can create some serious mismatches.
*After tearing it up in two exhibition games, Omar Calhoun was completely blanketed by the Michigan State. He scored one point, attempting only two field goals and hardly touched the ball in UConn’s halfcourt offense. Down the stretch, Ollie opted for redshirt senior R.J. Evans, who brought great energy, over the heralded freshman. I still believe Calhoun will have a huge freshman season; he just couldn’t find a rhythm Friday.
*The transition game was great, but when the Huskies were forced to play in the halfcourt, there was an awful lot of one-on-one. The 10 assist/12 turnover ratio must improve.
*No burn for Leon Tolksdorf and Phil Nolan, which isn’t a huge surprise. Ollie better hope Daniels and Tyler Olander avoid foul trouble, because there’s not much depth up front.