UConn-Kentucky: Keys to a Connecticut win

Keys to a UConn win over Kentucky:

1) Strong starts in both halves.  In 8 of the nine game in their winning streak, the Huskies have allowed more they’ve scored in the first five minutes of the second half.  On average, they’ve been outscored in the first 5 minutes of each half, but in the middle 10 minutes of each half and in the last 5 minutes they have outscored their opponents.  They need to come out strong.

2) Unleash the Beast.  Alex Oriakhi has had some monster games this season — including the win over Kentucky in the Maui Classic, in which he scored 18 points and grabbed 11 boards in 36 minutes.  That was on the heels of the win over Michigan State, in which he scored 15 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.  Significantly, he committed only three fouls, one in each game, in the Maui Classic.  Oriakhi had another monster game on the road against Texas, scoring 11 points and pulling down 21 rebounds, and staying out of foul trouble.  If Oriakhi can stay on the court for 33+ minutes, without foul trouble, and contribute 12+ points and rebounds, the Huskies have a very good chance to win this game.

3) Don’t force 3’s.  Too many times this season, the Huskies have seemed to sit back and settle for 3’s.  Truthfully, they are not a great 3-point shooting team, at 33.7%.   They’re actually not great inside either, shooting only 47% on 2’s, but as a 76% free throw shooting team, they’re much better off forcing the action inside and either scoring or drawing fouls.

4) Crash the offensive boards.  I know this sounds obvious, but I’ve seen too many times when the Huskies can’t get the offensive rebound because no one is in the paint.  After 39 games, the rebounders ought to have a good idea when the shot is going to go up, and be in position.

5) Limit Kentucky’s 3’s.  Kentucky has turned into a good 3-point shooting team.  If the Huskies allow them to shoot anywhere near 12-22 from beyond the arc, as they did against North Carolina, they are going to put themselves in a serious hole.


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