KenPom: 196 (220th Offense, 164 Defense)
2013-14 Record: 12-15 (3-11)
Head Coach: Stan Heath
Riding a 4 game winning streak, UConn walked into a packed Gampel Pavilion last Sunday only to lay a stinker against a lengthy and well-coached SMU team. It was possibly the Huskies worst display of the season, shooting 29% from the field and allowing SMU to shoot just below 47% percent. The fact is, there couldn't be a better time to be playing the Bulls. The last time these two teams met in Hartford just two weeks ago, UConn had their best defensive performance of the year. USF scored just 12 baskets in an 83-40 rout, shooting 24% with USF's best player and leading scorer Victor Rudd notch just 6 points on 1 of 9 shooting. UConn needs their mojo back with just 4 regular season games remaining and 2 against league leaders #7 Louisville and #11 Cincinnati.
Winning in Tampa however has not been smooth sailing for the huskies, losing 2 of their last 3 on the road against the Bulls. Road conference games are always a challenge, and after being so flat this weekend, UConn must stay focused and take care of business in sunny Florida. USF strength happens to be UConn's weakness which is some cause for slight concern. Victor Rudd (6-9) and freshmen John Egbunu (6-10) and Chris Perry (6-8) each average 6.8, 6.2, and 5.6 rebounds per game, respectively. It's a tall task for Phil Nolan, Amida Brimah, and co. but they have showed they can be more than contained.
DeAndre Daniels, Lasan Kromah, and obviously Omar Calhoun have all been struggling as of late. Look for Calhoun to get some looks after Shabazz Napier said he "looked like the old Omar" in practice two days ago. Over the last 4 games, Daniels has averred just under 10 points a game while not shooting a bad percentage and Kromah has averaged 4 (!!!) points a game over the last two weeks in his worst slump of the year. UConn needs a 3rd scoring option after Napier and Ryan Boatright, so one or two (or 3?!) of these players needs to pick it up offensively for UConn to have a chance to make a run this post season, and it must start now as the month of March is only four days away.
Tonight is nothing but a business trip for the Huskies, and I have no reason to think Ollie won't have the boys focused and prepared to get the job done.
UConn 74 USF 60