UConn men’s basketball will stay as the No. 1 team in the nation for at least one more week. The Huskies remain No. 1 in this week’s AP Poll, garnering a total of 48 first-place votes. Only Purdue (14 votes) and Houston (one) earned first-place votes this week, and fellow conference mates Marquette and Creighton join UConn in the polls at No. 9 and No. 13, respectively.
After a thorough beatdown of Xavier on Sunday, the second-largest in UConn’s Big East history, the Huskies have firmly entrenched themselves as the nation's best team right now. UConn ranks third overall in KenPom with the third best offensive efficiency mark in the country and a defensive efficiency that ranks 23rd. With sophomore big man Donovan Clingan back healthy and in the starting lineup, that defensive number is almost certainly going to rise. With Clingan playing a more regular share of playing time at just under 20 minutes, UConn held the Musketeers to just 0.78 points per possession. With Clingan on the floor, Xavier scored just 12 points on 35 possessions, good for 0.34 points per possession.
This is bonkers: According to Hoop-Explorer, Donovan Clingan was on the floor for 35 defensive possessions in UConn’s game against Xavier yesterday. Xavier scored 12 points in those 35 possessions — 0.34 points per possession. Just nuts.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) January 29, 2024
The Huskies also got another strong performance from star guard Tristen Newton, who had 22 points, four rebounds and four assists in the win. his fifth 20-plus point performance of the season. Newton was named as a midseason finalist for the Bob Cousy award for his play this season, given annually to the country's top point guard at each division level. Newton joins Marquette’s Tyler Kolek as members of the Big East conference on the finalist list, and the two will face off for the first time this season in a few weeks when Marquette comes to the XL Center on Feb. 17.
Stephon Castle also earned yet another Big East Freshman of the Week honor after a 12-point, five-assist performance in the win over Xavier. It’s Castle’s fifth time receiving the honor already this season.