After finding their way to an elusive victory in Houston, the UConn Huskies have Tulane (8-11, 1-5 American, No. 196 KenPom) next on the schedule and are hoping to begin a run.
Having the next three games at the XL Center will help. After tonight, the Huskies will host Georgetown (ranked 65th in KenPom) in a revival of an old Big East matchup Saturday and then next Thursday the Cincinnati Bearcats (32nd in KenPom) will be making a visit. Those matchups give UConn a chance to earn some quality wins and build some steam heading into the final stretch of the season.
Kevin Ollie's squad did well to grab a win on the road against a solid Houston team, especially after the disappointing loss to Tulsa in the previous game. With two losses already in conference play, the Huskies need to treat every American opponent with respect as they can ill afford many more losses.
Last time UConn and Tulane met—just 17 days ago in New Orleans—things appeared to be going swimmingly for the Huskies, who held a lead as big as 19 points in the second half before letting the Green Wave tie the game with 4:08 left. Luckily, Sterling Gibbs and Rodney Purvis helped the Huskies avoid disaster with some timely long-range shooting to seal the victory.
Since that meeting, Tulane is 1-3 with losses to Houston, Tulsa, and SMU. The Green Wave managed to capture a victory on the road over a 3-win South Florida team.
Kevin Ollie started Phil Nolan and Jalen Adams against Houston on Sunday and plans on doing so again tonight. Nolan put forth a solid defensive and rebounding effort down low while Adams paired nicely with Gibbs in the backcourt to provide a spark for the offense.
Defensively the Huskies have been playing pretty well lately. Even in the loss to Tulsa, the Huskies held the Golden Hurricane to 35 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent eFG% (credits made three-pointers as 1.5). In the win over Houston, UConn held the Cougars to 33 percent from the field and 39 percent eFG%. Finding a defensive rhythm was going to be tough after the loss of Amida Brimah, but hopefully the Huskies have found it.
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