Scouting No. 24 UConn at No. 25 Xavier
Andy Mac Williams,
Scouting UConn(16-6)(7-4 BIG EAST-3rd) #24 AP, #17 NET(3-3 Road) at Xavier(16-7)(6-6 BE-tied 6th), #25 AP, #21 NET(11-3 Home). 7 PM Tip at Cintas. TV is FS1. Muskies played Wed. and lost 73-71 at Seton Hall so a quick turn around. XU is 3-3 in BE Home Games( 3 defeats to PC Villanova and DePaul by a total of 11 points). Xavier looking to shake a string of slow starts trailing at half time in 9 straight(4-5 record). UConn is playing 4 games in 9 days. Huskies beat Marquette 80-72 Tuesday in Hartford. They head right to MSG in NYC for a Sunday Noon Game vs St Johns. XU-UConn Friday is a Covid re-scheduled game from late December. XU owned the 2nd half at SHU and almost won it late. SH built a 14 point lead in 1st half-punking X on the glass. Muskies turned it over 10 times early. The comeback was hindred by sub par FTs and overall poor 3 point shooting(4-14).
UConn outran Marquette w/ Center Adama Sanogo and SF Tyrese Martin teaming up for 42 points and 30 rebounds. Huskies field an Elite starting 5-are +8 on the glass-Shoot 35% from "3"-76% FTs and average 78PPG. Sanogo may be the best BIG in BIG EAST(15.4PPG-8.4 rebounds)-a ton of double-doubles-30 points vs AP#1 Auburn. Impossible to stop when he posts up deep. He also blocks 2.2 shots/game.
UConn starts veteran 5th year BIG Isaiah Whaley(6-9,235)(8PPG-5 REBS-2.5 Blocks). #4 Martin is SF(13.5 PPG-7REBS-43% from "3"). He attacks the rim and triggers "3s"(always moving). 6-6 mega-athlete Andre Jackson is their rover w/ elite speed-passing knack and unfeal hops(7PPG-7.5 REBS-3 assists-2 steals).
Andre and I are both grads of the Albany Academy(Albany, NY). We wore the same number(44). Me w/ JV. Andre 4 years varsity-Top 50 recruit-NY State Player of the Year.
PG is Howard U transfer R. J. Cole(16 PPG-5 assists-4 rebounds) super quick and a slick ball handler-adept as a penatrator or from "3". The bench is 4 deep w/ vet guard Jalen Gaffney(5 PPG-3 assists), sniper Tyler Polley(8PPG-35 made "3s"-BE 6th man of Year last season), 6-5 Frosh Jordan Hawkins(17 points last 2 games) and oft injured 6-9 Akok Akok.
UConn lost 59-55 at home to Creighton 10 days ago w/ an awful shooting game plus they were outrebounded. Their other BE losses are to PC Seton Hll and Villanova. X cannot start horribly. Somebdy has to try to control Sanogo down low. Cole has to be challenged and kept out of the paint. Their Top 3 Sanogo, Cole and Martin average 45PPG. Make Jackson and Whaley shoot it.
IMHO X needs more Dwon Odom early and a 1st half dose of Frosh Cesare Edwards(8 points on 4-5 FG +7 in 9 good minutes at Seton Hall). W/ Nunge and Freemantle and Edwards X has a depth edge along the front line. Play two BIGs-challenge Sanogo and Whaley and wear them out(hopefully foul trouble?).
X needs some 3 point juice which has been sorely lacking lately(13-51 last 3 games-25%). Nate Johnson and Adam Kunkel are elite shooters. Maybe bring both selectively off the bench?? Travis Steele will figure things out.
X is sitting pretty in NCAA NET w/ 7 maybe 8 BE games left before BET(if they reschedule at Georgetown). 3rd place in BE is still attainable. Top 5 BE nets a 1st Round BET bye. At least 6 maybe 7 BE teams are going NCAA Tourney. BEAT UConn and then enjoy the Super Bowl.
It's an Orange and Black Out Friday to support the Bengals. UConn coach Danny Hurley is a huge Bengal fan apparently. Let's put a "Go Fund Me" page together and send Hurley and assistant Luke Murray (ex-X and Louisville) to LA for the game, but they have to depart Friday afternoon from CVG.