Game Preview: Rutgers at Connecticut

Rutgers and Connecticut both enter Sunday afternoon's game on two-game losing streaks. The Scarlet Knights dropped below .500 in Big East play earlier this week and will need their first win at UConn since 1977 to do so.

Get ready for a guard show when Rutgers and Connecticut take the court Sunday afternoon at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. From the perspective of both head coaches, their opponent has some of the best guards in the Big East.

UConn (12-5, 2-3) features two of the top guards in the Big East in junior Shabazz Napier and sophomore Ryan Boatright. The pair averages a combined 32.6 points per game this season and are the top two scorers for the Huskies.

"Those two guards are as dynamic … wow," said Rutgers coach Mike Rice. "Those two are dynamic. In the open floor they're as good as anybody in the United States. … They've had eight days to prepare and they're coming off of two losses so I expect a hostile environment and a regular Big East atmosphere."

The concern, however, goes both ways.

After seeing the film of Rutgers and Notre Dame, first-year Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie has concerns about the ability to defend the sophomore trio of Elijah Carter, Myles Mack and Jerome Seagears.

"They play exceptional guards," Ollie said. "Eli Carter, he'll shoot from anywhere and Mack is right there with him. We were watching the Notre Dame game and they were shooting about three steps back. … Then they have Seagears playing very, very well and they come out with Miller and Kadeem and all of those guys that can run and jump and are athletic."

Rutgers upset No. 8 Connecticut at the RAC last season, primarily because of stellar efforts from Carter and Mack.

In a 67-60 victory, Carter matched Napier shot-for-shot with a 19-point game. Mack added 14 off the bench in the win.

Rice will look to kick start Carter in any way possible, after a 1-for-14 night against St. John's landed him on the bench for the final four minutes.

"I expect every team to [game plan] for me," Carter said. "I just have to trust my teammates and take good shots and I'll be fine. … They're a pretty good team. We just have to contain their guards. If we can do that, I think we'll be fine."

Inside the Numbers

11 -- As a freshman, Mike Poole notched his first career double-double in a loss at Connecticut, scoring 11 and recording 10 rebounds.

15 -- Set for his 45th consecutive start, senior Dane Miller needs 15 points to reach 1,000 in his career.

36 -- Rutgers has not won at Connecticut in 36 years.

14 -- Carter shot a combined 14 percent in two games against St. John's this season.

25 -- Derrick Randall played 25 minutes against Connecticut last season, but averages just 5.2 per game this season.


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