Walking in a Winterland

By David Scott - December 20, 2006

HARTFORD - We’re about 40 minutes from tip and both teams are currently on the floor, stretching and doing some light shooting. Both teams have blue warm-up jerseys, but the Huskies are wearing white shirts and shorts underneath, Pepperdine is in its road blues.

The PA system at the HCC is playing holiday music - the current selection is "Walking in a Winter Wonderland." Sadly, no snow is forecast for the Hartfrord-area - so we're all walking in a Winter Warmland, to be technical about things.

. . . Vance Walberg is considered a bit of an innovator for his wide-open offensive style. In fact, much of what Walberg runs on the offensive end is being used (and has been used) by Memphis coach, John Calipari. Calipari, when we visited with him in Memphis during the pre-season, raved about Walberg and the system. Calipari also likes it for what it does for him on the recruiting end - “Kids want to play like this, up and down,” he said.

Here’s how Walberg explains his system in his Pepperdine bio:

"Shoot, shoot and shoot some more. It's really very simple. What I do is I spread you out and we attack. I call it AASAA-Attack, Attack, Skip, Attack, Attack. Everybody gets a big plus out of it. It starts with the guards. The first thing I want them to do is come down and look to score. It's up to the guards to be able to break their man down. Once the breakdown process begins and whoever helps, that's where the kick goes. If we struggle, we reverse things and put it inside and it's time for the big guys to take over. It's very simple."

. . Senior guard Jason Walberg (Vance’s son) is lost for the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury during practice on November 24. Walberg played in five games and averaged 14.0 points and 2.4 rebounds a contest.

. . . Pepperdine ranks fifth in the country in three point field goals made. The Waves have totaled 133 and are averaging 11.1 made three-pointers per game. Virginia Military Institute leads the nation with 14.7 three-pointers a game. The Wave has also forced a WCC-high 259 turnovers (21.6 turnovers a game) and has a league-best turnover margin of +4.9. Uconn averages just under 15 turnovers per game, something that has been a big focus for the Huskies who started the season turnover-prone. (Since the fifth game of the year against Albany when the Huskies turned it over 19 times, they have had games of 13, 14, 12 and 14 turns.

. . . UConn Sophomore point guard A.J. Price has totaled 22 assists and one turnover in the past three games and has 49 assists and 15 turns on the season

. . . UConn is 6-0 record against teams from the West Coast Conference under Jim Calhoun, 2-0 against Gonzaga, 3-0 vs. Pepperdine and 1-0 vs. St. Mary’s.

. . . We're told that tickets are still available for tonight's game, if you find yourself in the Hartford area in the next half hour or so.

Posted by David Scott at 06:32 PM on December 20, 2006

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