Syracuse basketball opponent preview: What to know about Connecticut

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ After Kansas overmatched Syracuse in Miami, the Orange (6-1) now faces a Connecticut (6-2) team that started the season strong but has since seemed shaky, needing overtime to beat two mid-major teams.Here’s what to know about the Huskies:All-time series: Syracuse leads, 55-38Last time they played: Syracuse’s offense collapsed on Dec. 5, 2016, in a 52-50 loss to UConn at Madison Square Garden. The Orange, midway through the second half, led by 11 points but couldn’t withstand a Huskies comeback. SU made 14 baskets on 54 shots (25.9 percent shooting) and missed eight of 24 free throws.The team’s star forward Tyler Lydon struggled, shooting 1-for-7 from the field and totaling seven points. Syracuse center Dajuan Coleman finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe loss was a resume blemish for the Orange and likely contributed to the team missing the NCAA Tournament, as the Huskies finished 16-17. UConn’s leading scorer from that game, shooting guard Rodney Purvis, graduated.The UConn Report: The Huskies have played like two different teams early in the season. There’s the UConn that went to the PK80 Invitational and knocked off the de facto host, Oregon, at its own tournament. Then there’s the UConn that lost to Arkansas by 35 and needed overtime to escape two mid-majors in Columbia and Monmouth. It seems likelier we’ll see the latter team, Huskies beat writer Dom Amore told The Daily Orange.On Tuesday night, UConn will likely not have its star, redshirt freshman guard Alterique Gilbert, who has injured his left shoulder at least four times in the last three years. He hurt it again in a loss to Michigan State on Nov. 24 and hasn’t played since.On offense, the Huskies are one of the best teams in the nation at taking care of the ball, getting the ball stolen on just six percent of possessions, but the team hasn’t been able to capitalize. UConn’s effective field-goal percentage and 3-point shooting percentage both rank in the bottom quartile of Division I.On defense, Connecticut finds itself in the middle of the pack in nearly every statistic. Its Kenpom “defensive fingerprint” reads: “Inconclusive.”How Syracuse beats UConn: Limit the Huskies’ chances inside (more below) and force a poor 3-point shooting team to rely on its outside shot. Syracuse’s guards are several inches taller and much heavier than UConn’s, which are the focal point of the Huskies team. Not affording Jalen Adams, Christian Vital and Antwoine Anderson room to operate will be key for the Orange.Stat to know: 22.6Led by centers Paschal Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe, Syracuse blocks 22.6 percent of its opponents’ shots, the best rate in the nation. The Orange’s rim protectors should prove effective against a young, not-particularly-tall, guard-oriented Connecticut team that struggles to shoot the 3 and relies on penetration to create offense. UConn’s tallest best big man, Terry Larrier, is two inches shorter than Sidibe and four shorter than Chukwu.Kenpom odds: Kenpom gives Syracuse a 62 percent chance of winning this game. That’s up from the preseason mark of 51 percent.Player to watch: Jalen Adams, point guard, junior, No. 4If anyone’s going to fill the stat sheet for the Huskies, it’s Adams, the projected NBA Draft pick. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound scorer takes nearly one-third of his team’s shots when he’s on the floor and has a 51.5 true shooting percentage.Last season, despite shooting 4-for-11, Adams gave the Orange fits at the top of the 2-3 zone. He did a little bit of everything, scoring 16 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists. He also snagged two steals and turned the ball over three times. No matter what UConn does against Syracuse, Adams figures to be at the center of it. Comments Published on December 4, 2017 at 9:47 pm Contact Sam: sjfortie@syr.edu | @Sam4TRlast_img

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