Have you caught your breath yet? Had enough of watching Jalen Adams connecting from so deep that even Steph Curry would have to stop and give pause? (No, obviously)
Well shake off the euphoria of yesterday's four-overtime thriller against Cincinnati and mentally prepare (maybe restock the fridge as well) because the Huskies are back in action this afternoon, taking on top-seeded Temple in the American Athletic Conference semifinal at 3 p.m. on ESPN2.
For the second straight day, UConn (22-10, 11-7) faces an opponent that swept the Huskies in the regular season. UConn likely needs one more win to cement an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament so hopefully it has enough left in the tank after yesterday's instant classic with the Bearcats. But if any team in the country can put together magical runs it's this one, and after Adams' heroics on Thursday, we are reminded that anything is possible.
The Huskies will need plenty from Adams, more of the Daniel Hamilton who showed up in the second half and in overtime against Cincinnati, the same type defensive presence from Amida Brimah and the best of everyone else if they're to beat an Owls team it hasn't bested since the 2013-'14 season. UConn is 6-7 all-time against Temple (21-10) including choking away a 12-point second-half lead a month ago. In that loss the Husky big men struggled to find shooters, the offense was disjointed without Adams (benched for all but two-and-half minutes in the second half) and Quenton DeCosey delivered the dagger with a circus layup down the stretch.
Presumably, Adams will play much more today. There will (or should) be a heavy dose of Shonn Miller down low while Hamilton, Rodney Purvis and co. do their thing.
Due in large part to playing four extra periods, the Huskies adjusted defensive efficiency rating according to kenpom.com (93.9) fell to 14th overall but should hold an advantage over an Owls' offense which ranks 151st in the nation. UConn, which limits its opponents to 38.3 percent shooting, will try to slow down DeCosey (19 pts; 4.5 rebs against UConn this season) and can't let Daniel Dingle and Devin Coleman light it up from three as they have before.
Offensively, the Huskies' rating has been trending up, now at 75th in the nation with a ranking of 109.4. In the last meeting, Temple did a good job of forcing UConn to start its offensive sets from well beyond the three-point line. The Huskies have to get to their spots on the floor and start its action sooner in the shot clock to be successful.
UConn is 12-3 in their last 15 conference semifinal games, advancing to the final of every AAC tournament. Temple is a formidable foe but there is something about the way UConn performs in the postseason that has everyone believing. Buckle up.