When: Sunday, Nov. 20 - 5:00 p.m.
Where: XL Center — Hartford, Connecticut
Radio: UConn Sports Network
Odds: UConn -32.5, over/under 133.5 (via Caesars)
KenPom Predicted Score: UConn 84, Delaware State 50
The UConn men’s basketball team needs to take care of business one last time at home before the Huskies head into Thanksgiving break and eventually the Phil Knight Invitational out in Oregon. Delaware State comes to Hartford to round out a men’s/women’s basketball doubleheader, with the Huskies and Hornets tipping off after the No. 5 UConn women’s team takes on No. 10 NC State at 1:00 p.m.
UConn (4-0) has a 99.9 percent chance to win the game, per KenPom, their highest expected win percentage of the season. Delaware State is 1-3 on the season, with their coming against a non-Division I opponent. The Hornets have not beaten a Division I opponent since March of 2021 but can’t be taken lightly — they hung around with Villanova for most of the game less than a week ago, trailing by two with six minutes to play before falling to the Wildcats 60-50.
When UConn Has the Ball
Both Jordan Hawkins and Andre Jackson returned to action Friday night in the win over UNC-Wilmington. Hawkins looked as good as ever against the Seahawks, dropping 20 points in 25 minutes, shooting 5-8 from deep and displaying a newfound fire and swagger that was not apparent last season.
Jackson came off the bench and scored just two points in 20 minutes, but stuffed the stat sheet in other ways with three rebounds, two blocks and five assists. Jackson has a little more rust to shake off in terms of game speed — he suffered his finger injury in mid-October — so it's possible he plays more than the rest of UConn’s starters/key players today to get back into the swing of things ahead of a major test on the road against Oregon in the PKI next week.
While Delaware State is quite literally one of the worst teams in Division I, with the Hornets ranking 361st out of 363 teams in KenPom, the Hornets do have some size in 6-foot-11 big men Brandon Stone and Raymond Somerville. Stone and Somerville may not be a problem for Adama Sanogo, but it could be another test for Donovan Clingan, who struggled early on against UNC-Wilmington’s speed and length in the frontcourt.
Despite not yet playing a game outside of the state of Connecticut, the Huskies are already displaying some wild shooting splits between their two home venues. At the XL Center, UConn is shooting 23.4 percent from deep on 47 attempts, while the Huskies are twice as good (46.5 percent) from 3-point land at Gampel on 43 attempts.
There are a ton of nits to pick with those numbers — Hawkins, arguably the team’s best shooter, has only played a full game once so far, and 40-plus attempts is an incredibly small sample size — but it’s something to keep an eye on for the offense against Delaware State. UConn’s next venue for the PKI is the Moda Center, something that is a lot closer to the XL Center in size and setup than Gampel. Realistically, the Huskies probably aren’t as bad of a shooting team as they are now at XL and aren’t as good as they are at Gampel, but it’s intriguing to see how far these splits carry into the season and whether it becomes an issue for UConn on the road.
When Delaware State Has the Ball
For as bad as the Hornets’ offense is, ranking third to last in offensive efficiency per KenPom, Delaware State can shoot the three a little bit, shooting 34 percent from deep as a team. The offense runs primarily through sophomore guard Kyrie Staten, who averages 15.5 points and 2.8 assists per game.
Stone, the team’s starting center, leads the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game and can stretch the floor a bit, making two of his five 3-point attempts against Division I opponents. Aside from Stone, O’Koye Parker (8.7 points per game) and Somerville (6.5 points per game) are major cogs in the offense.
With Stone’s size, head coach Eric Skeeter will likely try to have the big man play out on the perimeter as much as possible to lure shot blockers like Sanogo and Clingan out of the paint to create driving lanes.