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Preview: No. 14 UConn men’s basketball vs. DePaul | 7 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

The Huskies look to keep their momentum rolling against the Blue Demons.

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Marquette Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, Feb. 25

Where: XL Center — Hartford, Connecticut

TV: CBS Sports Network

Radio: UConn Sports Network

Odds: UConn -17.5, over/under 148.5 — Odds presented by DraftKings

KenPom Predicted Score: UConn 84, DePaul 65 — 96 percent win probability

Things continue to trend back up for UConn men’s basketball. After an awful January slide, the Huskies have played some of their best basketball of the year as of late, looking more like the team that started the year 14-0 than the one that went 3-8 in January. In the month of February, UConn bounced back in a big way, winning five of six and picking up two very impressive home wins against No. 10 Marquette and No. 20 Providence. The Huskies may not have a shot at the Big East regular season title anymore — UConn is essentially locked into the No. 4 or No. 5 seed in the Big East tournament — but a win against DePaul is crucial.

A loss in Hartford to the struggling Blue Demons, losers of 10-straight, would torpedo the Huskies’ chances of earning a four seed or higher in the Big East Tournament and diminish the serious head of steam this steam has cultivated over the last month. It would also drastically alter what are pretty decent odds for UConn’s NCAA tournament chances — DraftKings currently has UConn as a title threat, with +2000 odds to cut down the nets and +450 odds to make the Final Four in Houston — both odds amongst the top 10 of all college teams.

When UConn Has the Ball

The last time the Huskies and Blue Demons faced off, Dan Hurley went to his three best players early and often to secure the win. Jordan Hawkins, Tristen Newton and Adama Sanogo combined for 72 of UConn’s 90 points and were utilized on more than two-thirds of the Huskies’ offensive possessions.

While that game plan worked in Chicago, it isn’t necessarily a sustainable way to win a lot of basketball games. Fortunately for UConn, the Huskies’ supporting cast outside of Hawkins, Newton and Sanogo has been considerably better as of late. Andre Jackson has hit double figures in scoring in two of his last three games as his role has shifted slightly to playing more along the baseline than the perimeter. Alex Karaban scored just four points last time out, but has continued his development into an impressive 3-point shooter, shooting 43 percent from deep since the last DePaul game and now owns the third-best offensive rating per KenPom (123.5) of anyone in the conference.

UConn’s bench, a strength early and then a pain point during the Huskies’ miserable January, seems to be back in its early season form. Donovan Clingan has remained a game-changer on both ends of the floor for stretches, but the 3-point shooting from Nahiem Alleyne and Joey Calcaterra has come back in a big way. The bench guards combined for 23 points on 3-7 3-point shooting against St. John’s and were a perfect 4-4 from deep against Providence. The two have scored more points in those last two games alone (35) than they did in eight games in all of January (31).

When DePaul has the ball

The Blue Demons don’t do a whole lot of things well — such is the case of a 9-20 team, but make no mistake, DePaul can shoot it. The Blue Demons rank 70th nationally in 3-point percentage at 36.2 percent and have three players shooting over 38 percent on more than 85 attempts. That trio — Umoja Gibson (42.8 percent), Javan Johnson (39.5 percent) and Philemon Gebrewhit (38.2 percent), have the lion’s share of DePaul’s 3-point attempts this season, and for good reason. A lineup featuring these three alongside bigs Da’Sean Nelson and Nick Ongenda has been Tony Stubblefield’s most used lineup as of late as the Blue Demons try to put as many shooters on the floor as possible in an effort to hang with the Big East’s top teams.

While it may not show in its record, DePaul’s shooting has kept them in some games they otherwise had no business being in. Threes from Nelson and Johnson midway through the second half sparked a 15-2 run in the last game between UConn and the Blue Demons that helped cut the Huskies’ lead to as little as six, making it far more uncomfortable for UConn than it should have been. DePaul shot 45 percent from deep in that loss to the Huskies, and did the same damage from deep in its last win, a surprising one-point home win over Xavier, in mid-January.

Most recently, the Blue Demons hung tough with now-No. 6 Marquette on the road, shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc to nearly claw back from a 21-point halftime deficit. DePaul outscored the Golden Eagles by 15 in the second half and ended up losing by six, but the Blue Demons’ 3-point prowess means that while they are one of the worst teams in the conference, they can get back into just about any game with some timely shots from deep.