Halftime: UConn 26, Cincinnati 25
Well, that wasn't too bad.
UConn leads No. 11 Cincinnati 26-25 at halftime, coming back from a 15-8 deficit early to take the lead and eventually climb back on top after a back-and-forth finish going into the break. The Huskies missed a ton of easy opportunities, but they made enough of their shots and played good enough defense to get the job done.
The key so far has been containing Cincinnati's best players. Sean Kilpatrick is doing his thing, he has 12 points and 3 rebounds so far, but he's also only 3-for-9 from the field and has four turnovers compared to two assists. By comparison, Shabazz Napier has eight points on 2-for-4 shooting with a 4-for-4 mark at the free throw line, plus five rebounds and no turnovers.
Meanwhile, no other Cincinnati player has more than three points, while UConn's gotten six points from Lasan Kromah, five points from Ryan Boatright and a huge three-pointer from Niels Giffey. If UConn can keep going, while also making a few more of the easy ones, they should have a good chance of winning this game.
Unfortunately, the same could have been said after the first half of UConn's last meeting with Cincinnati, and you all remember how that turned out. (If you don't, it turned out poorly.) Lets hope playing in front of the home fans helps prevent a repeat of that nightmare.
How has UConn handled its first year in The American?
The 10-5 record overall is pretty good. UConn certainly hadn't had that kind of record in the Big East over the past few years.
The 2-4 mark against the top teams in the conference however? Not so much.
Other than its season sweep against Memphis, the Huskies have struggled against the teams that matter in the new American conference. Swept by SMU, bludgeoned by Louisville and beaten by Cincinnati in a game the Huskies really could have (and should have) won. If UConn is going to make anything of this season, the Huskies are going to need to beat the best teams in the conference, and this afternoon they have a chance to take out No. 11 Cincinnati on their home court.
Coming off a really bad performance against USF the other day, UConn could really use a big win. Obviously making the tournament isn't going to be an issue, especially now that Florida has risen to the top of the polls, but UConn could be looking at a less than favorable seed if they drop a few more games, and the road to the conference tournament title won't be easy unless they can finish the season strong too.
Tipoff is at noon, hopefully today is the day UConn turns things around. Go Huskies!