If I said that UCF was a bad match-up for us, given that we liked to play through MSS some and UCF was giant, then that would be an excuse
. We did play like crap. UCF had something to do with it, because (news flash) they were a good team playing at full strength. As a reminder, they lost to Zion and #1 seed Duke 77-76 the next game. So, let's give them some credit. The other teams have coaches and players who want to win, too.
I'm so glad you mentioned our "2nd highest-rated recruit ever". It just goes to show why I take recruiting rankings with a huge grain of salt. Recruiting rankings and five dollars will buy you a Happy Meal. (At least, I think you can still get a Happy Meal for five bucks, but with inflation, I can't be sure.
) We all love to see highly-rated recruits come to our program, but those rankings are NOT guarantees of success, no matter the coach. Sports is as much mental as physical. DJ is a great kid, but somehow he couldn't thrive under the same coaching style and system in which both Bones and Vince thrived and ended up becoming NBA draft picks, in spite of the fact that they were lower rated recruits than DJ. Coaches coach and players play.
Specifically about that UCF game, all I'm saying is the major reason we lost is that Evans wasn't at full strength. Another big reason is because UCF was a darn good team. I wasn't at the practices between the Rhody A10 Quarterfinal and the UCF game, so I don't know specifically what the team worked on, but I am 100% certain that the staff did NOT say to our team that they should take bad shots, make sloppy passes, lose your man on defense, don't block out, and foul guys as they are shooting. Again, losing the engine of a team can be overcome, but it takes time and experience, not just a week of practice.