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UConn Men's Basketball Scouting Report: Bryant Bulldogs - Friday, 11/14 - SNY TV - 7pm

A preview of UConn's first opponent of the season

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Head Coach: Tim O'Shea

2013-14 Record: 18-14, 10-6 in NEC
Key Losses: Alex Francis (18.6 PPG, 8.2 RPG), Corey Maynard (13.3 PPG, 4.3 APG)

Bryant comes into the 2014-2015 season off their second straight winning season and picked to finish sixth in the Northeast Conference.  The Bulldogs will also be making their season debut in Gampel Pavilion at 7pm on tomorrow night.  They played just one exhibition game, a 102-54 win over Saint Francis Xavier.

The Bulldogs will have to replace two key players from a year ago, their starting point guard and a starting wing who led the team in rebounds.  Corey Maynard, a 6-foot-3 guard, averaged 13.3 PPG while leading the team with 4.3 APG.  Bryant has the guards to replace the scoring, but it will be a question of who will replace running the offense.

Alex Francis was second on the team in scoring at 18.6 PPG while also leading the team in rebounding at 8.2 per game.  At only 6-foot-6, Francis was one of the most effective rebounders in the NEC and was named first team all-conference.

Key Players:

#12 Dyami Starks, Senior, Guard (6-2, 195): Starks was the leading scorer from a year ago averaging 18.9 PPG on 42% shooting, 37% from three. This will be his first season without Corey Maynard. The offense will heavily rely on Starks following the graduation of Maynard and Francis. Starks was named all-NEC second team last year and preseason all-NEC first team this season.  He scored in double figures in all but two games last season, including three 35-point performances.

#10 Joe O'Shea, Senior, Guard (6-4, 195): O'Shea started all 32 games for Bryant last season, ranking in the team's top five in scoring, rebounding, three-point percentage, free throw percentage, assists, steals, blocks, and minutes.  He averaged 9.0 PPG last season while pulling down 4.3 RPG.  O'Shea is going to be asked to take on more of a playmaking role this year.  He had a career high of 21 points against Wagner last season.

#22 Dan Garvin, Sophomore, Forward (6-6, 215): From Bethel, Connecticut, Garvin played over 20 minutes a game as a freshman while averaging 6.0 PPG and 4.8 RPG.  At just 6-foot-6, he used his size and athleticism to lead the team in blocks, averaging 1.3 per game.  Coach Tim O'Shea is hoping he can be a similar player to Francis in the future, but is probably a year or two away.  Garvin had a career high of 13 points four different times last season.

#0 Zach Chionuma, Redshirt Junior, Guard (6-5, 185): A transfer from Boston University, Chionuma adds more depth as a bigger guard who will see time on the floor right away.  He was a McDonald's All-American nominee and ranked among the top 15 recruits in Connecticut while he was at Marianapolis Prep.  Chionuma had a team high 17 points in Bryant's exhibition victory over Saint Francis Xavier.

Bryant is coached by Tim O'Shea who is in his 7th year with the program where he is 57-125.  The 52 year-old was an assistant at multiple schools in New England, including Rhode Island, Yale, and his alma mater Boston College.  O'Shea's first head coaching job was at Ohio University from 2001-2008 where he went 120-95 including one MAC Championship in 2004-05 leading to his only appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

When Bryant made the jump to Division I from Division II for the 2008-09 season, O'Shea came back to his New England roots and accepted the head coaching job.  He went a combined 20-99 in his first four seasons before finally turning things around.  In the 2012-13 season, which was also the Bulldogs' first year of being able to participate in postseason play, they had their best season to date, posting a 19-11 record and earning a bid to the CBI Tournament.  Last year, O'Shea continued his success going 18-14 but did not play in the postseason.

KenPom has Bryant ranked 227th in his overall ratings, 184th offensively and 266th defensively. His projections give UConn, ranked 16th, a 95% chance of winning.