KenPom: 196 (220th Offense, 164th Defense)
2013-14 Record: 12-15 (3-11)
Head Coach: Stan Heath
Riding a four-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 percent 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 it best defensive performance of the year. USF scored just 12 baskets in an 83-40 rout, shooting 24 percent with USF's best player and leading scorer Victor Rudd notching just six points on 1-for-9 shooting. UConn needs its mojo back with just four regular season games remaining and two against league leaders No. 7 Louisville and No. 11 Cincinnati.
Winning in Tampa however has not been smooth sailing for the Huskies, losing two of their last three 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's strength happens to be UConn's weakness, which is some cause for slight concern. Victor Rudd (6-foot-9) and freshmen John Egbunu (6-foot-10) and Chris Perry (6-foot-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 shown 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 four games, Daniels has averred just under 10 points a game while not shooting a bad percentage and Kromah has averaged four (!!!) points a game over the last two weeks in his worst slump of the year. UConn needs a third scoring option after Napier and Ryan Boatright, so one or two (or three?!) of these players needs to pick it up offensively for UConn to have a chance to make a run this postseason, 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 Â prepared to get the job done.
UConn 74 USF 60