How to Watch
Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Streaming: FOX Sports Go
Location: Gampel Pavillion
Records: UConn 11-6 (8-6) | Marquette 11-12 (6-10)
KenPom Rankings: UConn – 32 |Marquette – 74
I’m assuming everyone remembers the previous matchup between the UConn Huskies and the Marquette Golden Eagles. James Bouknight went down with an elbow injury but stayed in the game and was used masterfully as a decoy of sorts. Tyler Polley took advantage, scoring 23 second half points (the same total Marquette had a team in the second half) to spark a come from behind win. UConn trailed by 18 at one point and ended up winning by 11, a 29-point swing. What will this meeting have in store for us?
Marquette continues to confuse me this year. They have looked great in spurts, and downright miserable at times (look no further than blowing an 18-point lead to UConn). Still, Marquette can hang with anyone when they are at their best. The problem has been inconsistency within and between games. Mostly recently, the Golden Eagles thoroughly dominated UNC in a rare non-conference matchup. It’s hard to believe Marquette currently in second to last place in the Big East, ahead of only DePaul, yet they go down to UNC and demolish a team that is tied for 5th in the ACC. All this to say, Marquette can be a dangerous team to play late in the season especially if you’re living life on the bubble, just ask Roy Williams.
UConn is coming off a much-needed win over at Georgetown. The Huskies played sloppy and the offense was, well, it was certainly something. Luckily for UConn, RJ Cole and James Bouknight decided to take matters into their own hands in the second half, scoring 14 points a piece to help secure a 13-point victory. It felt weird to be displeased or unimpressed with the performance, but that was the least gratifying 13-point road win over a rival that I can remember. But a win is a win at this point in the season especially. One game at a time should be the mantra for the Huskies.
Marquette will be looking to avenge their home loss to UConn earlier in the season, and I’m sure most teams would be happy to take part in spoiling UConn’s return to the Big East by knocking them out of contention for the NCAA tournament. Look for RJ Cole and James Bouknight to continue to be the go-to guys on offense. Perhaps fans can look forward to a better offensive showing against Marquette, after all they do have the worst adjusted defense in the league per KenPom (still good for 82nd in the nation though, not too bad really). Will Tyler Polley have a repeat performance and help get the offense rolling and help the Huskies find their groove on the offensive end of the floor? Hurley has said that the team will find that rhythm. Things are just taking time (which should be expected) as Bouknight works his way back into the lineup after a 5 week absence. You’d obviously like for things to just resume as the were prior to his injury, but that’s not exactly realistic. Three games remain, is that enough time?
Marquette has had a disappointing season given their roster but knocking off UConn towards the end of the season might be a nice consolation prize. UConn will have to continue to win with their defense until the offense comes around. As with each remaining game for the Huskies, this feels like a must win. Will their defense be enough, or will they finally find some continuity on offense? You always want to be playing your best basketball heading into March, but don’t blink now, February is almost over. UConn’s offense is running out of time and has 3 games left before the Big East tournament to sort things out.