Pre-game preview: Cincinnati

Here's a pre-game preview of UConn's American Athletic Conference showdown with No. 11 Cincinnati:

Tip-off time: noon (ESPN)

Records: Cincinnati 24-4, 13-2; UConn 22-6, 10-5

Last game:Cincinnati lost to Louisville, 58-57, Feb. 22; UConn won at South Florida, 61-56, Wednesday

Probable starters:

UConn, 6-1 sr. guard Shabazz Napier (17.8 pts, 5.5 assists, 5.9 rebs), 6-0 jr. guard Ryan Boatright (12.6 pts, 3.5 assists), 6-6 grad. forward Lasan Kromah (7.2 pts, 3.0 rebs), 6-9 jr. forward DeAndre Daniels (12.6 pts, 5.5 rebs), 7-0 fr. center Amida Brimah (4.1 pts, 3.0 rebs, 2.5 blks)

Cincinnati, 6-1 jr. guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (4.8 pts), 6-4 sr. guard Sean Kilpatrick (20.5 pts, 4.5 rebs), 6-7 so. forward Shaquille Thomas (6.9 pts, 2.8 rebs), 6-7 sr. forward Titus Rubles (7.0 pts, 6.4 rebs), 6-8 sr. forward Justin Jackson (11.3 pts, 7.0 rebs)

Noteworthy:

--  The Huskies have won five of six and are tied for fourth place with Memphis.

The Bearcats have dropped two of four and are tied for first with Louisville.

-- Series: UConn leads, 8-5, losing 63-58 on Feb. 6. Kilpatrick had 26 points and 12 rebounds while the Huskies played without Daniels.

-- Top reserve: 6-5 junior Jermaine Sanders (5.9 pts, 3.4 rebs).

-- Coach Kevin Ollie on the importance of today's game:  "t would be a big time win for us. Just like USF was a big time win. I can’t measure it. I don’t want my team to measure it.

"t’s just another win and another opportunity that we can show that we’re a better team. I want the guys to understand and respect that."

-- Cincinnati is off to best start in coach Mick Cronin’s eight years.

-- Kilpatrick leads AAC in scoring and Napier is second while Jackson ranks first in blocks (3.1).

-- Hot: UConn reserve Niels Giffey is averaging 11 points and is 8-for-13 from field in last two games.

-- Cold: Cincinnati is holding opponents to league low 57.4 points per game.

-- The Huskies are 3-2 vs. ranked teams.

-- The Bearcats are 6-1 on road in AAC.

-- UConn rarely plays zone but used that defense to overcome a second half deficit and beat South Florida Wednesday. Ollie even put Napier on the low block.

 "If I go zone again, he’ll be on the block again, seriously," Ollie said. "Just to get them out of rhythm. I know they didn’t scout it... It was just something that I wanted to throw in there. Wev’e been working on it."

-- Follow me on Twitter @GavinKeefe

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

 

 

Reader Comments

MORE BLOGS

Pre-game preview: SMU

  UConn has never beaten Southern Methodist University.

Hamilton announces his retirement

  Former UConn great Richard "Rip" Hamilton announced his retirement today.

Pre-game preview: East Carolina

  The regular season is winding down.  

Post-game breakdown: Tulane

  UConn took a difficult route to victory on Sunday.  So it was a typical win for the Huskies, who held off Tulane, 67-60, at Gampel Pavilion.

Pre-game preview: Tulane

  It's hard to believe the regular season is already winding down.

Boatright, Dunn finalists for Bob Cousy award

  UConn senior Ryan Boatright and Providence sophomore Kris Dunn are two of 17 finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award in college basketball.

Post-game breakdown: Memphis

  Freshman Daniel Hamilton is a rising star.  The latest evidence came in UConn's 75-72 loss at Memphis on Thursday night.

Pre-game preview: Memphis

UConn and Memphis meet twice over the final few weeks of the regular season.

Post-game breakdown: Tulsa

 UConn played its most complete game this season on Thursday night. Its near perfect performance couldn’t have come at a better time.

Pre-game preview: Tulsa

UConn begins a make-or-break stretch tonight.The Huskies host Tulsa, the American Athletic Conference leader, at the XL Center.

Calhoun pays tribute to Dean Smith

 UConn released a statement late Sunday from Jim Calhoun on the passing of fellow Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith, the North Carolina legend.

Pre-game preview: Tulane

  Here’s a revealing statistic:  UConn is 7-1 when Rodney Purvis scores in double figures.

Post-game breakdown: East Carolina

  UConn played about 13 minutes of nearly perfect basketball on Wednesday night.

Pre-game preview: East Carolina

  UConn has never lost more than two games in a season at Gampel Pavilion since the building opened in 1989.  That streak is in jeopardy.

Post-game breakdown: Cincinnati

 Well, that was a complete dud. UConn never led and played poorly for most of the game, losing 70-58, at Fifth Third Arena.