The Huskies return to action tonight when they host Tulsa at the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs at 8 p.m. Coming off a disastrous loss at Temple on Thursday, UConn will need to rebound with a victory tonight to avoid sliding further down the AAC standings.
A poor second-half performance mired by poor shot selection downed the Huskies in the teams' last meeting on Jan. 14, 60-51. Since that game, UConn (17-7, 7-4) has won six-of-eight, despite another disappointing second-half showing against the Owls two nights ago.
Tulsa (16-8, 8-4) has won three of its last four including a win over the AAC's top-ranked team, SMU, on Wednesday night. The Huskies will have to key on the scoring duo of James Woodward (16.4 ppg) and Shaquille Harrison (15.3 ppg; 5.4 rpg; 4.1 apg) who combined to drop 33 points on 11-of-22 shooting against UConn in mid-January. The Golden Hurricanes' adjusted offensive efficiency rating of 108.8 is tied for 77th overall, playing at the nation's 152nd-ranked adjust tempo, according to KenPom.com. Tulsa is in the middle of the pack in the AAC in both scoring defense (5th) and scoring offense (6th).
The Huskies will need to avoid silly three-point attempts early in the shot clock, as many of those missed shots keyed Tulsa's win earlier in the season. In the last meeting, UConn was without center Amida Brimah, whose presence should help the team in the paint where the Huskies were outscored, 18-14 and gave up seven second-chance points. The Golden Hurricanes have the second-worst rebounding margin in the conference at -1.9.
UConn's adjusted defensive efficiency rating fell to fifth in the country following the loss to Temple. Tulsa offensive efficiency rating is 78th best in the nation compared to the Huskies rating of 107.6, which ranks 101st. UConn will need to value each possession as Tulsa leads the AAC in turnover margin (+3.79).
The Huskies are 3-1 all time against the Golden Hurricanes. Sterling Gibbs led the way offensively in the last meeting, scoring 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Shonn Miller dropped 14, including going a perfect 3 for 3 from beyond the arch.
A win for UConn would improve its conference record to 8-4, keeping pace with Temple, Cincinnati and SMU in the AAC.