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The UConn Huskies return to action tonight at 7 p.m., against SMU at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, Texas. Coming off a disappointing loss to former Big East foe Georgetown, Connecticut looks to rebound tonight and even its record in the AAC at 3-3.
Facts & Figures
That is the Mustangs offensive-rebounding percentage, second best in the nation according to Kenpom.com.
SMU has three tenacious rebounders in Ben Moore, Sterling Brown and Semi Ojeleye who combine to grab over 21 boards per game. The Huskies have been hurt on the offensive glass this season and will need big contributions from their frontcourt. Amida Brimah will need to stay out of foul trouble (unlike he did against the Hoyas) for defensive purposes as well as limiting the Mustangs second-chance opportunities. Expect heavy minutes from UConn’s leading rebounder Kentan Facey who has averaged 8.5 rebounds per game over the last four contests.
Unfortunately for UConn, Steve Enoch will not be in action tonight due to a foot injury.
SMU has been on an impressive run since the start of December. After opening the year 4-3, the Mustangs have won 12-of-13 with their lone loss coming by two points to Cincinnati. The competition hasn’t been top tier—SMU’s opponent’s average rank in the last 13 games is 153—meaning UConn (ranked 102) should be a good test.
The Mustangs are prolific from beyond the arc, shooting just under 40 percent as a team. SMU is the 17th-best three-point shooting team in the country, led by Brown, Ojeleye, and Jarrey Foster.
The Huskies will have to find a way to counter. Continued hot shooting from AAC Rookie of the Week Vance Jackson should help. Jackson has seemingly found his stroke as of late, hitting 50% of his shots from downtown and over 50% from the field. His ability to stretch the defense should open lanes for the likes of Jalen Adams and Rodney Purvis.
In two meetings with SMU last season, Adams averaged just 4.5 points per game and 0.5 assists. It is safe to assume the sophomore will have a bigger impact tonight. Adams is putting up over 15 points and six assists per game, making for a great matchup of sophomore guards with him against Milton Shake (11.9 points; 4.2 assists per game).
Adams scored 22 points in his last outing on 7-of-14 shooting, dishing out nine assists in 40 minutes. Connecticut likely will need another performance like that from its star sophomore tonight.