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Pre-game preview: Central Florida

By Gavin Keefe

Publication: theday.com

Published January 11. 2014 4:00PM   Updated January 11. 2014 4:58PM

With the non-conference portion of its schedule over, UConn shifts its full focus to American Athletic Conference action.

Central Florida visits Gampel Pavilion tonight for a 6 p.m. game.

UConn is trying to avoid falling to 0-3 in conference play for the first time since the 1984-85 season.

The Huskies need some momentum to take into next week’s crucial stretch. They visit No. 24 Memphis Thursday and host No. 12 Louisville Saturday.

Here’s a pre-game preview of tonight’s game:

-- TV: ESPNU

-- Records: Central Florida 9-4, 1-1, UConn 12-3, 0-2

-- Last game: Central Florida beat Temple, 78-76, Saturday; UConn beat Harvard, 61-56, Wednesday

Probable starters:

UConn, 6-0 jr. guard Ryan Boatright (12.9 pts, 3.5 assists), 6-1 sr. guard Shabazz Napier (16.1 pts, 5.6 assists, 6.5 rebs), 6-8 jr. forward DeAndre Daniels (12.7 pts, 4.8 rebs), 6-6 grad. forward Lasan Kromah (6.7 pts, 2.6 rebs), 6-10 sr. forward Tyler Olander (2.5 pts, 1.5 rebs)

Central Florida, 6-1 sr. guard Calvin Newell (13.7 pts, 3.3 assists), 6-6 sr. guard Isaiah Sykes (15 pts, 6.5 rebs), 6-7 jr. forward Kasey Wilson (11.5 pts, 5.8 rebs), 6-8 sr. forward Tristan Spurlock (12.4 pts, 6.5 rebs), 6-8 jr. forward Eugene McCrory (6.7 pts, 3.7 rebs)

Noteworthy:

 -- Central Florida has won six of its last seven games, suffering its only loss toLouisville.

-- UConn is 3-3 in last six games,

-- Series: UConn leads 3-1, losing last meeting 68-63 at 2011 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. The Huskies were ranked fourth at the time.

-- The Knights were picked to finish ninth in conference preseason poll.

-- Sykes, a second team All-AAC preseason pick, leads team in points and assists and is tied for team high in rebounds.

"He's a walking triple-double," coach Kevin Ollie said.

-- Top reserve: 6-5 so. guard Matt Williams (5.8 pts, 3.1 rebs).

 -- Hot: Kromah is averaging 10.5 pts, 5.5 rebs and 3.5 assists in last two games.

--  Cold: Daniels is shooting 9-for-28 from field in last three games. He’s made three field goals in each of the last five games.

 -- Central Florida ranks first in AAC in rebounding offense (40.9) and UConn ranks last (34.9).

-- The Huskies are first in the conference in free throw percentage (76.1). Napier is shooting 85.5 percent from the line. He’s converted 44 of his last 47.

-- Follow me on Twitter @GavinKeefe for regular updates during the game.

-- Check back later for a post-game breakdown and video.

 

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