After losing to the Louisville Cardinals, the Connecticut Huskies have had two days to rest before their matchup versus Temple. Coming into the American Athletic Conference, there were big expectations for the Owls. At 5-11, the Owls have yet to win a game in the new conference. The Owls are definitely better than what their record says. Temple has lost seven games by a total of 26 points. They have also beaten some pretty good teams in UAB and Georgia. Many do not remember, but UAB beat North Carolina after the Tar Heels beat Kentucky. At first glance, this game should be a cakewalk for Connecticut. But, the Huskies cannot take these Owls for granted. Any game in college basketball is a winnable game.
The Owls still have two really good basketball players in Dalton Pepper and Quenton DeCosey. The Owls also have a double-double threat in Anthony Lee. Knowing that Lee averages around 10 rebounds, the Huskies have to be active on the boards. In a loss
against Louisville, UConn was outrebounded 45-30. Rebounding is and has been UConn’s biggest deficiency for the past few years. If this team wants to make a deep run into the NCAA tournament, DeAndre Daniels needs to be a reliable player. When Daniels averages a double-double, UConn’s chances of winning improve tremendously. Another guy who needs to step up his game is Phillip Nolan. Nolan was inserted into the starting lineup in the beginning of the season. Despite starting, Nolan is averaging just about four points per game. That must improve as UConn needs a big-body to collect rebounds down in the paint.
With four losses, the UConn Huskies cannot lose games against they easily beat. One team the Huskies should have beaten was against Houston. Despite being down around 20 at halftime, the Huskies were in position to win the game with around three minutes left. Losing against a Temple team will be really discouraging to the Huskies and to its fans. UConn still has to play at Louisville, Memphis, and two games against Cincinnati. If the Huskies slip against a bad team in the American, it will hurt their NCAA tournament position. By entering “bubble status”, the Huskies will be compared against many teams in the NCAA tournament. By beating teams that they should, UConn will help its chances of making the NCAA tournament.
Prediction: Connectiut 71, Temple 59