Know Your Opponent: Connecticut

With the Bearcats having lost their last three games by an average of 19 points, things certainly won't get any easier this weekend as Cincinnati (10-5, 0-2 in the Big East) welcomes the University of Connecticut (13-1, 2-1 in the Big East). Here's what you need to know about the UConn Huskies.

The Huskies currently sit at fifth in the national polls, with their lone loss coming when they were ranked No. 2 against the then No. 8 Georgetown Hoyas. Georgetown forced 17 UConn turnovers in the December 29 match up, and the Hoyas held all but three Huskies to four points or less.

Cincinnati's strongest area of play, something Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun will be sure to try and exploit with his high scoring offense, currently ranked 22 in the all the land averaging just under 80 points per game.

But this is still traditional Big East basketball, and the Huskies can certainly get it done in the defensive end of the court. UConn also ranks 22 nationally in field goal percentage defense, holding their opponents to hitting just 37 percent of their attempts. Behind 7'-3" junior center Hasheem Thabeet and his 3.7 blocks per game, UConn currently ranks fifth in the country in blocked shots. Most impressive, however, is the Huskies ability to remain out of foul trouble while still playing such strong defense. Connecticut is second nationally with just 13 personal fouls per game.

Thabeet also leads the Huskies in rebounding, bringing down just under 11 boards per game (10.7). Offensively, Thabeet is one of four UConn Huskies averaging double digit points every game, lead by senior forward Jeff Adrien and his 14.6 ppg. Guard Jerome Dyson adds 14.2 per game, Thabeet 13.9, and center Kemba Walker an even ten per game.

For a Cincinnati team that has been struggling defensively, keeping the UConn scoring low may prove difficult as they have a number of different ways to score the basketball. Head coach Mick Cronin will need every ounce of defensive effort and determination from his team, who is seeking to avoid an 0-3 start to conference play this afternoon. Tip off is set for 4:30.

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