Sandwiched between the 2K Classic CHAMPIONSHIP WIN against Indiana and a huge game next Monday against Florida, UConn faces the Loyola of Maryland Greyhounds (4-0) tonight for our third dog versus dog match-up of this young season. Connecticut is currently 2-0 against dog nicknamed opponents with wins against Yale and BU.
The 6-0 Huskies look to keep the streak alive against a Loyola squad that is also undefeated, albeit in a slightly less impressive manner- wins over . For their most recent win, they overcame a 17 point second half deficit to beat UMBC (sound familiar?) in overtime 89-83. Their other three wins came against Binghamton, Cornell and Fairfield- all teams ranked in the 300 range on KenPom.
Led by first year head coach G.G. Smith, who is actually the son of formerly relevant college coach Tubby (now at Texas Tech), Loyola's team is paced by Senior Guard Dylan Cormier, who is currently averaging a shade under 30 points per game. The preseason All-Patriot League selection is also the third highest scorer in the NCAA right now.
The Huskies are coming off a remarkable win against a solid Indiana team that was actually still able to sneak into the USA Today Coaches Poll at #25. Shabazz Napier stole the show at MSG on Friday night in what was his national coming out party. UConn's defense was able to keep the Hoosiers' leading scorers in check and it was very, verrrry encouraging to see the Huskies crash the boards the way they did. We've won three important games this year by a combined four points- an experience which will undoubtedly pay dividends come tournament time.
This will be the first time that these two schools meet in what is their first year in their respective conferences. UConn is of course in the American Athletic Conference and this off-season Loyola left the MAAC to join the Patriot League. Hashtag conference re-alignment.
If recent games by Kentucky, Syracuse and Gonzaga have taught us anything, it's to never overlook an opponent. Last night, Kentucky almost lost to Cleveland State. Let's hope that the Huskies remain sharp and keep their minds on this game and not on the huge match-up coming up against #15/13Florida on Monday.
The game will be televised tonight on SNY if you're in the CT/NY area. For the rest of you, ESPN3 is the spot.