After a competitive performance in a loss at No. 18 Arizona on Thursday night, Kevin Ollie’s UConn Huskies are in Alabama to take on Auburn in a 2:30 tip-off. The Tigers are ranked 40th in KenPom and have a 10-1 record but haven’t really played anyone too competitive to date. Their lone loss came against a Temple team ranked 61st in KenPom, and most of their games have been against teams in the bottom half of Division 1.
KenPom has UConn ranked 62 spots below Auburn, at 102nd, and is predicting a nine-point loss this afternoon. The Tigers have four players averaging double-digit scoring, including Connecticut native Mustapha Heron, a scoring guard who’s second on the team with 15.9 points per game, just a hair behind leading scorer Bryce Brown’s 16.2 points per game. Up front, Auburn offers a manageable matchup to UConn’s bigs, with the trio of forwards 6-foot-5 Desean Murray (11.1 PPG, 7.8 RPG), 6-foot-7 Anfernee McLemore (8.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG), and Chuma Okeke (8.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG) leading the way.
With just this game and a January 20th date with Villanova left on the non-conference schedule, UConn could really use a win here if it is to have any hope of salvaging a respectable outcome for this season. Things looked better against Arizona, but this team still collapsed down the stretch and took a double-digit loss. The schedule doesn’t get any friendlier going forward either, as the Huskies start conference play against 11th-ranked Wichita State in their next game.
UConn has been able to get consistent contributions from Terry Larrier, Jalen Adams, and Christian Vital, but the rest of the starters and the bench have been unreliable. Someone from that group is going to need to step up to turn this season around. This would be a most opportune time to get started.
20:00 - Game has begun, Auburn wins the tip.
15:47 - Auburn leads 7-2, UConn has yet to make a field goal.
11:41 - UConn ties it up at 7 but then gives up a 16-0 Auburn run. This team is not good.
8:03 - It’s getting worse, Auburn leads 36-15. Bad fouls, bad shots, no rebounding, another day on the hardwood looking like an overmatched team that lacks any semblance of cohesiveness.
3:45 - Auburn ahead 40-18, things are still not well. UConn is 6-of-25 from the field and has four players (Terry Larrier, Jalen Adams, David Onuorah, Josh Carlton) with two fouls. Vital is the leading scorer with eight.
0:00 - Auburn on top 47-24. This is a massive struggle.
20:00 - Second half has begun
16:03 - Auburn up 57-32, it’s getting worse.
11:33 - Searching for the meaning of life.
End - 89-64.