The 9-seed Huskies tip-off their 33rd appearance in the NCAA tournament this afternoon against 8-seeded Colorado. Here is a breakdown of today's opening round action.
Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa.
Time: 1:30 p.m.
Radio: UConn/IMG Radio Network
Spread: UConn -3
All-time series: 0-0
Overall: UConn - 26, Colorado - 55
Offense: UConn - 61, Colorado - 118
Defense: UConn - 16, Colorado - 27
Key players for Colorado: Josh Scott, senior, forward, 6-10. Scott leads the team in scoring (16.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). George King, sophomore, guard, 6-6. Scott is one of the best three-point shooters in the country, connecting at .456 percent from beyond the arch. Dominique Collier, sophomore, guard, 6-2. Collier is the Buffaloes leading assist man (2.67 apg) and another capable shooter from the perimeter (.455 3FG percentage).
Key players for UConn: Daniel Hamilton, sophomore, forward, 6-7. The Huskies' third-leading scorer and top rebounder and assister grew up in the AAC tournament. Amida Brimah, junior, center, 7-0. Brimah's presence in the paint is undeniable, leading UConn with 59 blocks on the season. Jalen Adams, freshman, guard, 6-3. Adams' quickness and savvy in the lane and in transition is second-to-none in the country.
Reasons for optimism: Head coach Kevin Ollie is 6-0 in the NCAA tournament, helping the Huskies to a 31-5 record in the first two rounds of the tournament. UConn enters the big dance playing some of its best basketball of the season. The newfound confidence of Daniel Hamilton appears to made a positive impact on the entire team. Jalen Adams is looking more comfortable in his pull-up game, set up beautifully by his explosiveness to the rim. The Huskies will take the court today as confident as anyone in the nation with a proven tournament coach and a dominant defense- anything less than a win would be a disappointment.
Reasons to be nervous: Josh Scott is a beast down low and if Brimah, Phil Nolan, Kentan Facey, Shonn Miller and crew don't stay out of foul trouble, it could be a long afternoon. UConn has struggled mightily this season finding shooters in transition and the Buffaloes have plenty of guys who can stroke it from three. If Colorado plays its inside-out game, it could be a long afternoon for the Huskies.
Pre-game viewing or watching material
NCAA Tournament Round 1 Preview: UConn vs. Colorado | TV: 1:30 p.m., TNT - The UConn Blog
Do the Huskies have what it takes to move past a solid Colorado team?
UConn NCAA Tournament Preview: Q&A with Ralphie Report - The UConn Blog
We spoke with Ralphie Report to get the story from the inside on UConn's opponent for the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Colorado - UConn NCAA Tournament: An inside look at the Huskies - The Ralphie Report
We talk with The UConn Blog to get the low down on Connecticut.