After a thorough dismantling of Manhattan on Black Friday, UConn returns to Gampel Pavilion to take on former Yankee Conference foe New Hampshire. A double-digit victory over the Wildcats would break the modern NCAA record for most double-digit non-conference wins, eclipsing the 2008-09 North Carolina squad’s record.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: UConn Sports Network
Odds: UConn -30.5, over/under 147.5
KenPom Predicted Score: UConn 87, New Hampshire 60 | 99 percent win probability
All stats as of the start of play on Monday.
As former Yankee Conference members, New Hampshire is the second-most frequent foe in UConn’s history, behind just Rhode Island. Monday will be the 120th meeting all time between the two programs and the Huskies have taken home the victory 94 times, compared to 25 losses.
The programs played at least once yearly, and frequently twice, every year from 1914-15 until 1984-85, save for a few years during World War II, with the last game in Durham coming Jan. 9, 1983. Coincidentally, that was the last Wildcat victory, as UConn has come out on top in each of the previous 11 games. The Huskies haven’t lost a home game in this series since Jan. 3, 1974.
What to watch for
Massive size advantage
This has been a theme throughout UConn’s buy games has been a size advantage. The Huskies boast some of the longest guards and wings in the country and also have the combination of Donovan Clingan and Samson Johnson to play center. Among the six buy games that UConn will play this season, New Hampshire is the shortest team the Huskies will face.
The Wildcats’ average height is 76.3 inches, which is No. 311 in the country out of 362 teams. Jaxson Baker, who has played 73 percent of his team’s minutes at center, according to KenPom, is 6-foot-8, 215 pounds. Alex Karaban, who would serve as an ultra small-ball center, is listed at 6-foot-8, 220 pounds. He’s the only player that tall in what is a relatively shallow rotation, as New Hampshire has just seven players with greater than a quarter of minutes played.
This should help expand UConn’s 2-point percentage — both for and against — as well as rebounding shares. The Huskies should be very aggressive and use this advantage to play from ahead and limit second chances.
Contain Daniels and Robinson
New Hampshire goes through Clarence Daniels and Ahmad Robinson. Each of the two are in the top 50 in share of possessions used and Robinson is No. 19 at 33.4 percent. Almost two-thirds of the Wildcats’ possessions end with the pair.
Robinson is an undersized point guard, at just 5-foot-10, but he’s a junior and has been around the block. He’s primarily a facilitator, as his 33.5 percent assist rate is No. 47 in the country, but he can also score from around the basket, despite his size. He shoots 47.2 percent on 2-pointers.
Daniels starts at power forward and stands at just 6-foot-6, but is a senior. He also knows how to fill it up, as he’s a 36 percent 3-point shooter and is 55.6 percent from inside the arc, with a respectable free-throw percentage. Alex Karaban will likely draw most of the minutes against Daniels and will have his work cut out, as he’s also a strong rebounder.
Don’t be complacent
UConn has done well this year with blowing out inferior teams, even doing so to fairly good ones, as evidenced by the 20-point win against Indiana. However, New Hampshire has a propensity to stay in games and keep it close. The Wildcats went to Syracuse and lost by 11, while they fell by 12 to George Washington. They’ve jumped more than 50 spots in KenPom this season and are clearly a frisky team. The Huskies will want to put this one away as soon as possible.
6 - Tristen Newton’s rank in KenPom’s player of the year standings after his third career triple-double against Manhattan. He’s the only Big East player on the list.
13.1 - The Wildcats’ steal percentage while on offense, which is No. 346 in the nation. New Hampshire is loose with the ball and the Huskies love to run on live-ball turnovers.
69 - Nathan Davis is willing to let his team play with two fouls in the first half. His team ranks No. 68 in the nation at two-foul participation, via KenPom.
26.0 - The Wildcats are by far the best at preventing 3-pointers from landing in the early going, though this is inflated some by the 31 deep shots Division III Curry College took on Nov. 8. Opposing teams are shooting just 26.0 percent, which is No. 25 in the country.
145 - Cam Spencer’s offensive rating, which leads the Huskies and is No. 21 in the country. He’s second in the Big East, behind Isaac Traudt of Creighton.
24 - A 10-plus point over New Hampshire would make it a 24-straight double-digit non-conference wins for UConn, a modern NCAA record.