Preview: Syracuse (4-0) vs. No. 18 Connecticut (4-0)

Previewing No. 18 Connecticut vs. Syracuse:

Game 5: Syracuse (4-0) vs. No. 18 Connecticut (4-0)

All-time series: Syracuse leads 54-37

Date: Thursday, Nov. 26th

TIme: 3:30 p.m. ET

Location: Paradise Island, Bahamas


With their victory over Michigan on Wednesday evening, Connecticut improved to 4-0. The Huskies are led by senior guard Sterling Gibbs, who is averaging 15.7 points per game on the young season. He's also shooting 40% from 3-point range, something that will be very beneficial against SU's 2-3 zone. 

Junior guard Rodney Purvis is second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.3 points per game. Like Gibbs, Purvis takes a lot of 3-pointers. He doesn't shoot it, statistically, as well as Gibbs does, but he's still efficient. He has the type of aggressive to cause defenses fits, including SU's zone.

Syracuse also has to watch out for G/F Daniel Hamilton, who does a little bit of everything for the Huskies. Against Michigan on Wednesday, Hamilton finished with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists in 32 minutes. As Hamilton goes, Connecticut goes. Syracuse needs to contain the 6-foot-7 forward to have success. 

Kevin Ollie is in his fourth season as head coach of the Huskies. His career record is 75-33. He won the 2014 National Championship. 

Three things to watch:

  1. Rebounding: Syracuse has their first true test of the season against the 18th-ranked Huskies. One of the keys will be how well Syracuse can control the rebounding margin. If the Orange want to keep it close and have a chance to win, they'll need to hold their own on the glass. If the Huskies dominate the rebounding statistic, they'll dominate the game.
  2. 3-point shooting: Syracuse made fourteen 3-pointers against Charlotte on Wednesday. They shot 50% (14-for-28), their best offensive performance, statistically, of the season. They'll need a repeat performance on Thursday if they want to pull off an upset. Amida Brimah, a 7-foot-0 center, will start for UConn on Thursday. The Orange may have trouble getting an offensive game going inside, which is why they'll need to shoot lights out, or repeat Wednesday's performance.
  3. Contain Gibbs/Hamilton: Gibbs and Hamilton combined for 27 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds in Wednesday's 14-point win over the Wolverines. Syracuse will need to contain the deadly combo on Thursday. If either, or both, players have a big game, the Orange could be looking at their first loss of the season.

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