Oklahoma State’s Kalib Boone (22) and Connecticut’s Andre Jackson Jr. (44) search for a rebound within the first half of an NCAA school basketball recreation, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Picture/Jessica Hill)
Connecticut head coach Dan Hurley, proper, talks to Andre Jackson Jr., left, and Hassan Diarra, middle, throughout a timeout within the first half of an NCAA school basketball recreation towards Oklahoma State, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Picture/Jessica Hill)
FILE – Florida ahead Colin Castleton (12) performs towards Vanderbilt in the course of the first half of an NCAA school basketball recreation Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. Castleton, a first-team preseason All-SEC choice, is again after lacking a part of final season with a separated left shoulder. (AP Picture/Mark Zaleski, File)
UConn has constructed a resume worthy of its lofty No. 5 rating.
The undefeated Huskies have received their first 9 video games all by double figures for the primary time at school historical past and outscored opponents by a median of 24.2 factors per recreation, possessed a killer intuition and have but to path within the second half.
They’ve posted 4 straight high quality wins towards Oregon, Alabama, Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
About the one factor lacking is a real highway win.
They’ll get an opportunity so as to add that accomplishment on Wednesday, visiting Florida (6-3) on the O’Connell Middle in Gainesville for a 9 p.m., recreation.
It will likely be the primary time this season that the Huskies (9-0) will play in entrance of an unfriendly crowd.
Coach Dan Hurley known as it “a extremely necessary highway recreation.”
“Nice groups, they win away from residence, when you actually wish to construct a resume and ship a message about how good you might be,” Hurley stated. “We’re 3-0 on impartial (websites) and now we get an opportunity to go to an enormous excessive main place on the highway in Florida and play in a hostile setting.
“Clearly, we’re going to go in there extremely ranked, so we’re going to get an actual hostile setting and it’s an opportunity to choose up an enormous, huge highway win.”
Virtually all the things in regards to the expertise on Wednesday will probably be new for this UConn workforce. Nobody on the roster has ever performed with such an enormous goal on their backs. In reality, the Huskies haven’t been ranked within the high 5 since November 2011.
Groups like Florida will probably be fired as much as attempt to add a win over a marquee program. The Gators have received three of their final 4 video games regardless of coping with some accidents and tightened up their protection.
A former three-time All-Atlantic 10 performer at St. Bonaventure, guard Kyle Lofton, might return to the lineup after lacking the final two video games attributable to again spasms. His standing will probably be a game-time resolution. Three different transfers – Will Richard (Belmont), Alex Fudge (LSU) and Trey Bonham (VMI) even have made an impression.
Florida’s finest participant is 6-foot-11, 250-pound ahead Colin Castleton, who’s already scored 30 or extra factors twice this season. He’s averaging team-high in factors (16.6), rebounds (7.4) and blocks (2.9).
It will likely be a problem for the Huskies to decelerate the Gators, who common 81 factors per recreation. They’ve confronted potent offensive groups earlier than and have but to permit greater than 67 factors in a recreation.
Everyone seems to be shopping for into Hurley’s defensive recreation plan. Sophomore Jordan Hawkins, whose repute is as a shooter not a defender, is taking expenses.
“All of our gamers have gotten to be two-way gamers,” Hurley stated. “You possibly can’t win something important except you play elite stage protection. That sends a message when your finest shooter-scorer on the workforce is grinding defensively and dealing like that. It tells you in regards to the tradition and mindset of this system.
“He’s not there auditioning for the NBA. He’s on the market attempting to win for UConn. That’s what our tradition is all about.”
The Huskies enter Wednesday’s recreation recent off a much-needed six-day break between video games. It will likely be their solely true highway recreation earlier than opening the Large East season on Dec. 17 at Butler.
They’ll be seeking to begin the season with 10 straight wins for the primary time since 2010-11.
Whereas that is clearly Hurley’s finest workforce throughout his 5 seasons in Storrs, he’s had an extended unbeaten streak whereas teaching at Rhode Island.
There are similarities between the groups.
“The longest run I’ve had in school, we had 18 in a row at Rhode Island,” Hurley stated. “The factor about that workforce is that they celebrated one another’s success. They knew that scoring a pair extra baskets a recreation isn’t actually going to impression profession alternatives down the road. It’s about placing high quality on the courtroom, it’s about successful huge. Profitable huge does extra in your profession than scoring empty factors and searching numbers on a dropping workforce.
“It’s all about maintaining that mentality and tradition that’s all about successful and celebrating when it’s different folks’s night time to have a very good offensive recreation.”
No. 5 UCONN at FLORIDA
Location: O’Connell Middle, Gainesville, Fla.
Tip: 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Data: UConn 9-0, Florida 6-3
Final recreation: UConn beat Oklahoma State, 74-64, Thursday; Florida defeated Stetson, 89-51, Sunday
Possible starters: UConn, 6-5 sr. guard Tristen Newton (11.4 pts, 4.6 rebs, 4.2 assists), 6-6 jr. guard Andre Jackson (5 pts, 5.8 rebs, 4.3 assists), 6-5 so. guard Jordan Hawkins (13.3 pts), 6-8 r-fr. ahead Alex Karaban (9.7 pts, 3.8 rebs), 6-9 jr. ahead Adama Sanogo (18.7 pts, 6.9 rebs)
Florida, 6-0 jr. guard Trey Bonham (10.2 pts), 6-5 fr. guard Riley Kugel (5.6 pts), 6-6 so. guard Kowacie Reeves (9.6 pts), 6-9 so. ahead Alex Fudge (8 pts, 4.9 rebs), 6-11 fifth-year ahead Colin Castleton (16.6 pts, 7.4 rebs, 2.9 blks)
Noteworthy: As of Tuesday, UConn was considered one of 12 unbeaten groups left within the nation. … Sequence: UConn leads 4-1, successful 4 straight together with final assembly 62-59 in November 2019. … Gators 0-1 vs. Large East foes this season, dropping to Xavier 90-83 on Nov. 24 in Portland, Ore. … First-year coach Todd Golden spent the earlier three years at San Francisco. … Florida 22-61 all-time vs. high 5 competitors. … One in every of Florida’s losses got here at residence towards Florida Atlantic and former Husky Jalen Gaffney. … Gators ranked 69th in first NCAA NET rankings, Huskies No. 2 … Prime reserve: Will Richard (13.6 pts, 4.4 rebs). … Gators averaging 81 pts, Huskies 82.9 pts per recreation. … Scorching: Joey Calcaterra taking pictures 58.6 % (17 for 29) from three. Chilly: Jackson and Hassan Diarra changing 21.4 % (3 for 14) from three. … Transfers Nahiem Alleyne (Virginia Tech) and Diarra (Texas A&M) each beforehand performed towards Florida, with the previous firing in a career-high 28 factors in a 2021 NCAA match first spherical additional time loss and latter supplying 14 factors in a 2022 SEC Match recreation win. … Newton leads the workforce in steals (14), assists (38), Karaban first in minutes performed at 29.6 and Donovan Clingan tops in blocks with 18. … Subsequent up: UConn hosts Lengthy Island at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Gampel Pavilion.
– Gavin Keefe