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Preview & Open Thread: UConn Men’s Basketball vs. Tulane | TV: 8 PM, ESPNU

The Huskies are looking for their third straight win as they host the Green Wave.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

For the third time this season, the UConn Huskies (9-11, 4-4 AAC) are going for their third consecutive win Saturday evening against the Tulane Green Wave (4-16, 1-7 American) at Gampel Pavilion.

The Huskies lost on the road each of the first two times UConn had a chance at a three-game winning streak, first falling to Ohio State by four and then at Georgetown by three.

Tonight, they will be taking on one of the worst teams in the country—Tulane is ranked 268th in the country by KenPom—and should be able to take care of business for their first winning streak.

UConn will be using just six scholarship players for the third game in a row, as it appears both Juwan Durham and Steve Enoch will be joining Terry Larrier, Alterique Gilbert, and Mamadou Diarra in street clothes on the bench.

Jalen Adams has been coming into his own as of late, averaging 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 9.2 assists over the past five games. He’s been key to UConn’s offensive success while playing a lion’s share of minutes since the Husky roster was decimated by injury.

Kentan Facey has also been playing very well, with a double-double in three of his last four games and helping UConn maintain balance offensively. Freshmen Christian Vital and Vance Jackson, thrust into key roles due to roster attrition, have been stepping up as well.

The visiting bench will be manned by first-year head coach Mike Dunleavy Sr., the former longtime NBA head coach who most recently finished a mostly unsuccessful eight-year tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers which ended in 2010.

Dunleavy’s first year at the helm of the Green Wave hasn’t been going well either, but they did notch their first conference win over UConn’s last victim, South Florida, earlier this month for their fourth victory. Cameron Reynolds is the team’s leading scorer with 15.6 points per game.

The Huskies have yet to lose to Tulane in four all-time meetings. I wouldn’t expect that to change tonight. UConn has found a way to get points on the board and is facing the worst scoring defense in the conference—Tulane’s defensive efficiency is ranked 285th in KenPom. Everyone needs to stay out of foul trouble, and fatigue will be a factor given the small rotation, but Kevin Ollie and the Huskies seem to have it figured out.

A win would get UConn above .500 in conference play and tie the Huskies for sixth in the conference standings heading into a challenging matchup at Cincinnati.