- John Gasaway, ESPN Insider
Most of the country is talking about North Carolina and Kentucky this November, and rightfully so. Both teams have looked great in the early going, and the meeting between the Tar Heels and the Wildcats in Lexington on Dec. 3 should be exciting for NBA scouts and college basketball fans.
Then again, another top-five team looks pretty good right now, and it happens to be the defending national champion 4-0 Connecticut Huskies. The Huskies' schedule to this point has been soft(Columbia, Wagner, Maine and Coppin State), but there's much to learn even when a team is cruising through the easiest portion of its season. After all, the Huskies have played 268 possessions of basketball without their unquestioned leader and featured scorer from last season, Kemba Walker. How's that working for them? Who has stepped up, and has the absence of their star led to any interesting adjustments from coach Jim Calhoun?
Even before Thanksgiving, here are some early observations:
Jeremy Lamb is taking a lot more shots.
In July, I hazarded a reckless prediction and said that this season Lamb would carry a much heavier load and average 19 points a game. If anything, that's looking a little conservative. To this point the sophomore star has averaged 23 points per game. That said, his scoring efficiency has been merely good, not great, primarily because he has yet to heat up from the perimeter. In four games Lamb has connected on just 32 percent of his 3-point attempts. Recent history suggests that number will climb. Recall last season how Lamb made 52 percent of his 3s during UConn's 11-0 run through the Big East and NCAA tournaments. True, opposing defenses are keying on him now, but 32 percent still feels too low.
John Gasaway says while North Carolina and Kentucky have gotten all the early season buzz, the UConn Huskies are still a top-5 team to be reckoned with.