How to Watch
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: 97-9 ESPN
Location: XL Center
Records: UConn 6-1 | UMES 2-4
KenPom Rankings: UConn – 20 |UMES – 351
The UConn Huskies and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore meet for just the second time in their history. The two teams previously met in December 2012. UConn dominated this matchup, winning 84-50, led by then freshman Omar Calhoun (22 points) and sophomore Ryan Boatright (21 points). Will UConn have a hangover after coming back from the Bahamas, where they finished in third place and went 2-1 in the Battle 4 Atlantis? I doubt it.
As with most of UConn’s non-conference matchups this season, this should be a lopsided one. UMES comes in to the game ranked near the bottom of college basketball. In fact, they will be the lowest ranked opponent UConn has faced yet at 351 (per KenPom).
UMES has struggled this season. Their adjusted offense ranks second to last in all of college basketball (356/358). The defense doesn’t get much better, 317th. They certainly haven’t played the easiest schedule, but it hasn’t been the hardest either (95th in the nation according to KenPom). Their lone win against a D1 team came in double overtime against Fordham. UMES has also beaten Bryn Athyn, a DIII team that is currently 0-4. UMES did beat them handily at least, 91-42.
UMES does have some depth though, with nine players averaging at least 17 mpg. Of these nine players, five average over 7 ppg, led by guards Zion Styles (12.5 ppg) and Dom London (10.3 ppg). However, as a team, UMES is shooting just 41.1% from the field, and 33.1% from beyond the arc. They have a handful of shooters, but shouldn’t be much of a threat to the Huskies.
UConn, on the other hand, ranks in the top 25 for both adjusted offense and defense. They certainly have room for improvement on both ends (a scary thought), and this would be a good game to work on their discipline. The Huskies are averaging nearly 15 turnovers a game, but have been able to make up for this with good, albeit inconsistent, 3 point shooting (38% as a team).
As anyone who has been watching would guess, UConn is led in scoring by sophomore center Adama Sanogo (16.7 ppg). I’d like to see the offense a little less dependent on Sanogo, but I don’t think that will be the case this game. Perhaps he can work on limiting his turnovers and increasing his assists in a game like this. UMES only has 1 player listed taller than 6’7”, a freshman who barely sees the floor. Look for the ball to go inside early and often as the Huskies should dominate the interior this game.
It can be fun to beat up on bad teams, but I’m not sure how much we will learn about UConn in this game. In Atlantis, we learned the offense needs some work. Turnovers (breaking the press and in the halfcourt) have been a problem, consistent shooting, forcing the ball into Sanogo, holding on to leads/closing out games, the list goes on if you want to nitpick. But in reality, the Huskies are 6-1 and went 2-1 against 3 very good teams. If nothing else, I’d like to seem them clean some things up against UMES and I’d also like to see the freshmen get some run. The Huskies should roll in this game with some highlight reel blocks and dunks.
UConn 105, UMES 61
Next up: Grambling State followed by West Virginia