The UConn Huskies are in search of their second win of the 2020 season. James Bouknight and the Huskies will attempt to attain it against the Hartford Hawks on Friday night at Gampel Pavilion. This will be the Hawks’ first game of the year, while the Huskies are of course on the heels of a 102-75 beatdown of Central Connecticut on Wednesday.
Hartford has medium-sized expectations going into the year. The Hawks were picked to finish sixth in the America East, a conference that is expected to be headed by the Vermont Catamounts yet again. They’re coming off a season in which they went 18-15 with a 9-7 record in conference play. They are absent two of their premier players from a season ago, both of whom are familiar names to Big East fans. One is Malik Ellison, who starred at St. John’s in 2015 and 2016. The other is Traci Carter, who of course played at Marquette in 2015 and 2016.
That being said, there’s still some young and fresh talent on the roster. This includes All-America East Rookie Team selection Moses Flowers. Flowers, a guard, played rather well and accumulated a lot of time on the floor a season ago for Hartford. If that was any indication, he will no doubt be one of the go-to guys for the Hawks in this upcoming go-around. In 31 games last year, he put up double figures 15 times, including two separate 28-point performances against the New Hampshire Wildcats and the St. Francis (NY) Terriers.
They will have a tough task ahead of them in trying to corral UConn. Especially if the Huskies attack with a similar offensive gameplan from Wednesday. Granted, this was a Hartford squad who a year ago had the best perimeter defense in the nation. Not just the America East, not just among the mid-majors, but the nation at large. Granted, there’s a strong chance that had lots to do with the presence of both Carter and Ellison. But they had solid numbers across the board, so they may be no slouch.
UConn remains a heavy favorite in this game though, and it’s probably easy to see why. They have an array of players beyond just Bouknight who can attack. We’ll see what R.J. Cole and Brendan Adams can bring to the table after both had deft performances from dee. Additionally, we’ll see if they can put up such great numbers inside again. They shot 66.7 percent on 2-point tries against Central Connecticut. If they can replicate that kind of success, or even graze it, this will be the rout that some expect it to be.
How to Watch
Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Spread: UConn -21.5
Moneyline: UConn -10000 | Hartford +2500