With a new era in UConn men’s basketball tipping off soon, the staff at The UConn Blog dot com decided to get down and dirty to predict how the Huskies will do this season under our savior Dan Hurley. We went more into stats here but if you want our general season predictions, check out our staff roundtable!
Over/Under: 8.5 Non-Conference Wins
Tucker Warner: Over. UConn has eight capital-B bad teams on its non-conference schedule. All they need is one win against a solid team to beat this over.
Connolly: Definitely over. The fact that almost their entire non-conference schedule is at home against bad teams bodes well.
Dan Madigan: I’m with Tucker here on the over. If this team doesn’t finish the non-con slate with at least eight wins, it’s going to be another long season. Just one win against the group of Syracuse, Arizona, Florida State and Villanova makes this over hit. I’ll take my chances on that.
tcf15: Over. If UConn doesn’t hit the over on this, then something went horribly wrong this season.
Over/Under: 10.5 Conference Wins
Tucker: Slight over. The average of my most pessimistic projection and most optimistic projection is 11 conference wins, so I’ll go with that.
Connolly: Over. There’s enough bad teams in the conference that UConn should handle, which means they just need a couple wins over UCF, Cincinnati and SMU at some point. I’d be surprised if they were totally swept by the trio.
Madigan: Under, barely. UConn has to play UCF, Cincinnati, Temple and SMU twice. Not ideal. Those are still winnable games but UCF, Cincy and SMU are flat out better than the Huskies this year, so they’ll be lucky to win two or three of those six games.
tcf15: Over. UConn has at least 6 wins on the schedule in USF twice, ECU twice, Tulane and Tulsa. I say there is a good chance they pick up 5 more throughout the rest of the season.
Over/Under: 16 Points Per Game for Jalen Adams
Tucker: Over again. He averaged 18 a game last season, and what he’ll lose with less dominance over the ball, he’ll make up for with increased efficiency.
Connolly: Over. If Dan Hurley can get through to Jalen, he’s going to be one of the best players in a country and should dominate the lowly competition in the non-conference schedule.
Madigan: Over. Even with Alterique Gilbert hopefully healthy and the addition of some decent guards like Tarin Smith and Brendan Adams, this team still needs Jalen to score a lot to win. He’s the centerpiece of this offense and will be relied on heavily, much like he has his whole career.
tcf15: Over. Dan Hurley wants a Jimmer Fredette-type season from Jalen Adams this year. He will have to green light throughout the season and should put up close to 20 points per game.
Over/Under: 4.5 Assists Per Game for Alterique Gilbert
Tucker: Under. There’s a lot of capable ballhandlers in the backcourt this year, and Gilbert hasn’t yet shown himself to be the type of player to dominate the assist count. That doesn’t mean he’s not a good passer, it just means there’s a lot of mouths to feed. Also, Dan Hurley has only once had a player average five assists per game.
Connolly: Under. As good as Alterique looked in preseason, I don’t think he’ll be the only guard bringing the ball up and dishing out assists. They’re going to be split between Alterique, Jalen, Tarin Smith and even Brendan Adams.
Madigan: Over. I think Alterique will run the offense a lot and give Jalen a bunch of easy buckets, and drive and kick out to Christian Vital for easy 3-pointers. Not to mention, Hurley will likely be running an offense that features ball movement and motion instead the past few years of iso-ball. Assists overall will be up.
tcf15: Under. Like Madigan says, assists will be up, but I don’t think anyone gets over 4.5 per game. With the backcourt depth this year, I think it’s more likely we’ll see a few players hovering around 3-4 assists per game.
Over/Under: 33 percent 3-point percentage for Christian Vital
Tucker: Over, and this is the one I’m most confident about. Vital is a solid shooter from deep, and his decrease in percentage from his freshman to sophomore years was because he forced too many shots, not because his skills diminished. Give him a role where he doesn’t have to create a lot of opportunities and involve him more in the flow of an offense, and that percentage will jump way up.
Connolly: Over. Despite the fact that I got drilled in the head by one of his misses at practice once, I still think he’ll have a strong year from behind the arc. Not long after beaning me, he also yelled out “I believe I will make every shot I take!” Who am I to doubt that? Plus, if I’m wrong I can just blame the blow to the head.
Madigan: Over. Vital was a great shooter toward the end of his freshman year and much worse last season. With a healthy Gilbert and a more disciplined offense, he will take less shots, but make more of them. I think somewhere between 33 to 36 percent is pretty sustainable for CV.
tcf15: Over. Last season, UConn’s offense was a lot of iso-ball that ended up in too many poor shots from beyond the arc. On top of that, the Huskies were also playing catch-up in 20-point blowouts the majority of the season, too. Those two factors resulted in Vital going from 37 percent on 142 attempts in 2017 to 32 percent on 214 attempts in 2018. I think UConn will be more competitive this year and there will be more shots that and we’ll see Vital hit around 34 to 35 percent on the year.
Over/Under: 3.5 Technical Fouls This Season for Christian Vital
Tucker: Optimistically, under. Players take cues from their coaches, and given a coach who doesn’t throw papers off the scorer’s desk even after realizing it’s a bad idea, maybe we see a more reserved Vital this year—or at least one whose intensity pays off only in good ways.
Connolly: My heart wants to say over but I’m going to say under. This coaching staff does not mess around and if Christian’s consistently doing stupid things, he’s going to see the bench. Hurley will hopefully figure out how to channel Vital’s fire in a better way.
Madigan: Over. Vital’s an intense player and already picked up a T in an exhibition game this season. I definitely think Hurley will be able to reign him in a little, but I think a handful of technical fouls from Vital are inevitable this season.
tcf15: Under. Buy-in from Vital this season will be huge in terms of improving the culture that has plagued UConn over the last couple of years. I think Hurley gets through to him and Vital remains technical foul-free throughout the season.