Quick Thoughts: Kansas becomes the storm
Plus: Boo Buie sinks Purdue, Maryland collapses, and what is Houston's ceiling?
In Houston last March, sat at a table next to the NRG Stadium court, Connecticut would make you feel like you were being swept up in a storm.
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The game would start, and things would seem normal, and then UConn — often early in the first half, but sometimes a bit later, and sometimes just steadily throughout — would overwhelm not just their opponent but the very idea of a competitive contest itself. Andre Jackson would start flying up the floor. Jordan Hawkins would start burying everything. The bigs would start pushing people around. UConn would run its endless parade of perfectly executed half-court sets and start alternating pick and roll alley oops and wide open 3s, and you, from the side of the floor, sitting there with your little laptop, adrift in the massive crowd, could nonetheless get a taste of what it must have been like to play against those Huskies, how disorienting being in the storm must be.
That is the same vibe the 2023-24 edition has been putting out, the same way they overran Indiana and handled Texas in New York two weeks ago. It was startling, actually, how much this new UConn team felt like the one that steamrolled the national title in March.
And so it was just as startling — maybe more so — to see this program on the receiving end of the same treatment in the first half at Kansas Friday night. Of course the trip to Allen Fieldhouse was going to be difficult. Of course Bill Self would have something up his sleeve. Still: For the first time since the 2023 Big East tournament, Connecticut looked like a normal team, and their opponent looked like the storm.
(This is Quick Thoughts, in which I formally limit myself to a few big bullet point takeaways on a game or game[s]. After the jump, relatively quick takes on a fantastic hoops Friday night — a stirring marquee Kansas win, Purdue’s loss at Northwestern, Maryland at Indiana, and whether Houston has the offensive talent to live up to its analytic expectations.)