The UConn men’s basketball team is off to a rough start this season, to put it lightly, losing at home to Wagner and Northeastern their first two games. They’ll have a chance to bounce back in a huge way next week when they head to Hawaii to participate in the Maui Invitational preseason tournament, and anything can happen. Our roundtable question this week is: what are your predictions for Maui?
Chris Hanna, Staff Writer
Truthfully, the way UConn has been playing so far doesn't really give me much hope for the Maui Invitational, but I do think head coach Kevin Ollie will get the boys ready (or more ready) than they were for the two opening games this season.
Oklahoma State is a solid team and is 2-0 so far this season, having scored over 100 points in both of their games, albeit against much lesser competition. They are decent on the boards and could pose a problem for the Huskies, but aren't that great defensively, which could allow UConn’s scorers to get in a rhythm and perhaps steal a win.
That said, if UConn does end up beating Oklahoma State, it will likely be the only win of the tournament, unless Chaminade somehow upsets North Carolina. In that case we would have a shot to win the tourney against one of the four teams on the other side of the bracket. But if the men’s team plays anything like it has so far, don't expect much out of the Huskies in Maui.
Matthew Kren, Staff Writer
In a season where the schedule does not feature many quality opponents, UConn has already dug themselves quite a hole, floundering to a 0-2 start. The Maui tournament offers the Huskies a chance for hope, as it is a tournament that can act as a catalyst for the rest of the season.
If UConn is able to beat a solid 2-0 Oklahoma State squad, they will line-up with No.5 UNC, which has easily dispatched Tulane, Chattanooga and LBSU already this season. A win against UNC would be the highlight of the Huskies’ resume come March, as it could serve as the reason they make the NCAA and not the NIT.
On the other side of the bracket sits No.4 Oregon, No. 9 Wisconsin, Tennessee and Georgetown. After starting 0-2 in the season, anything less than two wins in the Maui Invitational will be detrimental for the Huskies, as these three games might ultimately decide the season. In Maui, I see UConn slithering past Oklahoma State, losing in the teens to UNC and beating either Georgetown or Tennessee.
Dan Madigan, Sports Editor
After a terrible start, UConn has a chance to quickly turn the season around in Hawaii with some matchups against marquee opponents. If the Huskies can put some pieces together against Loyola-Marymount on Thursday, they should be able to take down Oklahoma State. Assuming North Carolina rolls over Chaminade, it’s tough to see the Huskies advancing any farther due to their slow start.
If the Huskies lose to the Cowboys, a win over Chaminade is likely and a matchup with either Tennessee, Georgetown, Oregon or Wisconsin would still provide a chance to boost a resume desperately in need of quality wins. Either way, any wins UConn can get in Maui should help the Huskies recover from two tough losses.
Josh Buser, Campus Correspondent
Nothing from the first two games of the season suggests that UConn has any chance of beating Oklahoma State. Kevin Ollie might be able to get his team to click by then, but the Huskies have clearly had their struggles against subpar competition and don’t appear to be ready to play a major Power 5 school.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has scored at least 100 points in each of their first two games, and although they haven’t been great defensively, UConn is averaging less than 60 points per game and do not pose much of a threat.
Assuming North Carolina wins, the Huskies should be able to beat Chaminade, but if the first two games taught us anything, it’s that you can’t overlook anyone with the way UConn has been playing.
Chris Hanna is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.
Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.