Huskies and Crimson collide in Storrs
Storrs, CT – A top-25 showdown is on tap in Storrs this ranked Connecticut Huskies welcome the 25th-ranked conference showdown.
Tommy Amaker has delivered at Harvard, as the fifth-year coach has the Crimson in the top-25 for the first time ever. Harvard has jumped out of the gates in 2011-12 with eight straight wins, with the marquee victory coming against then nationally-ranked Florida State (46-41) back on November 25th. More recently, the Crimson moved to 8-0 with an 80-70 win over Seattle at home on Sunday.
The defending national champion Huskies are certainly no stranger to the top-25 and come into this contest at 7-1 overall. The lone loss came in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas to UCF (68-63), but Jim Calhoun's squad has responded with back-to-back wins since, including a 75-62 win over Arkansas last Saturday as part of the Big East/SEC Challenge.
These two team have met 16 previous times, with UConn winning 14 of those meetings, including the last seven. Harvard has not won a game in this series since 1972.
The Crimson are getting it done with strong defense. The team is limiting the opposition to just 54.4 ppg thus far, holding them to just over 40 percent shooting (.417). The offensive firepower for Harvard isn't exactly overwhelming. The team is putting up modest numbers, averaging 67.6 ppg on 45.5 percent accuracy from the field. Keith Wright leads the way both in the scoring column and on the boards, averaging 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Fellow forward Kyle Casey is next in line in both categories (10.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg), while Laurent Rivard (10.1 ppg, team-high 18 three-pointers) has been a nice option off the bench. Jonah Travis came off the bench to pace the Crimson against Seattle, posting 19 points in just 19 minutes of work. Rivard added 14 points in the 10-point victory.
The Huskies have shown the ability to win games at either end of the floor, averaging 75.5 ppg, while allowing 65.2. In addition, UConn has dominated the action on the glass, boasting a +8.0 rebounding margin. Jeremy Lamb is the team's All-American candidate this season and he has certainly looked the part early on. The 6-5 sophomore is shooting 51.8 percent from the floor over the first eight games and netting 20.3 ppg. He is paired with point guard Shabazz Napier in the backcourt. Also just a sophomore, the 6-1 Napier has the ability to both fill up the basket (16.8 ppg) and distribute (6-1 apg). The team just got Ryan Boatright onto the floor recently (six-game suspension) and the 6-0 freshman has made an immediate impact, averaging 18.5 ppg over the last two games. It was Boatright that led the way in the big win over Arkansas, as he poured in 23 points and doled out six assists off the bench. Lamb added 14 points in the win, as UConn shot a sizzling .571 from the floor in the game overall.