Saturday's win over Memphis was an impressive one for the UConn men's basketball team. After a weird start to the game, Memphis pulled ahead in the middle of the first half. The Huskies managed to come back, shooting far better than in last week's loss to Temple.
Even when the Tigers took the lead in the final minute, UConn kept fighting and walked out of Gampel Pavilion with an 81-78 win to its credit.
Thursday, the Huskies (11-4, 2-1 American Athletic Conference) are back on the road, where they are amazingly already one win away from matching their 2014-15 total. UConn begins a two-game road trip in Oklahoma with a showdown against Tulsa.
The Golden Hurricane (10-6, 2-2) are one-point favorites in Ken Pomeroy's projection for Thursday's game. Tulsa enters the game on the back of two straight wins over East Carolina and Tulane.
Lead by Shaquille Harrison and James Woodard, Tulsa is still looking for a marquee win. It missed two chances in conference play against SMU and Cincinnati. Tulsa's most impressive wins after Wichita St. are Oklahoma St. and Iona.
The Golden Hurricane are OK on both sides of the ball. They are 91st in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and 67th defensively. Frank Haith's team struggles on the glass (236th in offensive rebound percentage and 224th defending against offensive rebounds), and it also struggles to both make and defend 3-pointers.
Tulsa is particularly good at both avoiding turnovers and forcing them. The Golden Hurricane are 38th in the nation in defensive turnover percentage (21.3), and Harrison is 49th in the country with a 3.8 steal percentage.
UConn looked good in its first road game of the season, winning at Texas, but it got a major scare at Tulane. After going up 19 early in the second half, the Huskies let the Green Wave come back to take the lead. UConn won late, thanks to a great performance down the stretch by Sterling Gibbs.
Gibbs had another great game Saturday. The Seton Hall transfer scored a season-high 26 points, shooting 5-for-7 from deep. He was 2-for-4 inside the 3-point line after going 0-for-15 in the previous three games (at Texas, at Tulane, vs. Temple). Gibbs was more aggressive in the lane, which led to eight free throws. UConn shot 33 foul shots in total Saturday, a nice boost for a team struggling to get to the line this year.
UConn's aggressiveness was aided by the solid play of Phil Nolan and Kentan Facey down low. Without Amida Brimah, UConn has longed for a big presence at the rim to help Shonn Miller. If those two can combine to keep doing what they did Saturday, the Huskies could be in good shape.
Thoughts on where the Huskies are right now? Mad that conference games in Oklahoma are going to keep being against Tulsa, not OU and Oklahoma St.? Think the bigs can keep stepping up? Share your thoughts on whatever your heart desires during tonight's game in our open thread below.