UConn's inability to put together 40 solid minutes of basketball hasn't really hurt them yet. Sure, there was the little scrape with Central Florida, but the Huskies are 12-1, a Top-10 team and seemingly in good shape. But this team is a work in progress, and developing teams that have tendencies like failing to put away opponents tend to do things like lose games they should win. Which brings me to this: I think there is a very real possibility that UConn will lose to Seton Hall tonight.
It feels incredibly odd to type a phrase like "UConn will lose to Seton Hall," if only because UConn just does not lose to Seton Hall. The Huskies have won the last 11 meetings between the teams and 25 of the last 27. But this Seton Hall team is not the bottom-feeder the Huskies have owned for the past two decades. KenPom has them ranked 41st in the country (for reference purposes: Florida St. is 40, Harvard 34 and UConn 28). They're 12-2 and although one of those losses was a blowout to Syracuse, the Pirates are coming off a double-digit beatdown on West Virginia.
Senior forward Herb Pope is a legit Big East Player of the Year candidate and he is far and away the best big man Andre Drummond has faced so far. Drummond has Pope on size, strength and natural ability, but you can bet the senior has a few tricks up his sleeve, and Drummond saying he had never heard of Pope probably won't do anything to help.
Pope is joined by fellow senior Justin Theodore, a talented point guard who had 18 points, 8 assists and 0 turnovers in the Hall's win over WVU. I imagine Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright will both work to make his life harder tonight, but he's one the nation's leaders in assists and it is not going to be an easy job.
I know UConn has more talent than Seton Hall on paper. Meacham tells me I'm crazy because we always beat Seton Hall, but I have a bad feeling about this one. The South Florida game was UConn's first "road game", but something tells me a sold out Prudential Center is going to be a little louder than their counterparts in St. Petersburg were. Jim Calhoun's been gone for a week too, and like we saw back in 2010 a little bit of Blaney is okay, but when he's a long-term stand in things can go wrong. Most importantly, I'm afraid that a senior-led team hungry for a statement win can take advantage of a UConn team that doesn't play hard from start to finish.
The Huskies could win by 20, but I wouldn't be shocked to see them lose either. I'll split the difference and take the Huskies 72-67.
The game tips at 7 and will be on SNY and ESPN3. Join us in the comments below. Go Huskies!