Time and Place: 9 p.m. on Feb. 16 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut
Where to Watch: ESPN2, channel 42.2 on the HuskyVision cable listing
Last Meeting: UConn lost 70-61 on Jan. 5, 2017 at theFedExForum in Memphis. The Huskies are 6-4 all-time against the Tigers
UConn’s Last Time Out: 66-63 win over UCF at the CFE Arena on Feb. 12, 2017
Memphis’s Last Time Out: 74-62 loss to Temple on Feb. 8, 2017
Projected Starting Lineups: UConn (12-12, 7-5 the American) vs. Memphis (18-8, 8-5 the American)
G: Jalen Adams vs. Jeremiah Martin
Adams scored 14 points on 6-for-11 shooting against UCF and recorded seven assists, further improving his assists per game average to 6.7, good for eight in the nation. Martin was almost nonexistent in the Tigers’ contest against Temple, going just 1-for-6 from the floor and scoring just three points in 37 minutes of play.
G: Rodney Purvis vs. Markel Crawford
Purvis had a monster first half against UCF, scoring 17 points solely on five 3-pointers and two foul shots. However, he scored just one point in the second half and went 0-for-5 from the field. Crawford fared similarly against Temple, scoring 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the floor, although not as polarizing.
C/F: Amida Brimah vs. Jimario Rivers
Brimah had a weak offensive game against UCF, scoring just three points, but that’s to be expected when you’re up against Tacko Fall. Despite that, Brimah grabbed 12 rebounds and held Fall to only six points. Rivers performed even worse, amassing two points on a lone basket and only pulling down three rebounds.
F: Kentan Facey vs. Dedric Lawson
Facey finally broke out of his little offensive slump, scoring 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting against UCF. Lawson had a crazy game against Temple, recording a double-double with a whopping 27 points, but on 10-for-22 shooting from the floor and 1-for-6 shooting from three. He also got 12 rebounds.
F: Vance Jackson vs K.J. Lawson
Jackson’s struggles continued against UCF, as he went 1-for-4 overall from the floor, sinking just one 3-pointer, though he helped hold UCF’s A.J. Davis to five points. Lawson also struggled from the floor against Temple, going 2-for-8 overall and missing both his 3-point attempts.
Climbing the ladder: Winners of seven of their last 10, including five home wins in a row, UConn has the chance to jump Memphis in the conference standings. A victory would put the Huskies in fourth place, putting them in good position for a better seed come the conference tournament and a good confidence booster for a team that was in the cellar when conference play began.
Double-Dedric: Dedric Lawson’s 27-point, 12-rebound performance against Temple marked the sophomore’s 34th career double-double, making him sixth in career double-doubles among currently active players, and the most among sophomores by a mile. In addition, his season-total 515 points and 265 rebounds through 26 games puts him in elite company, as nobody has put up numbers of that level since Tim Duncan in 1996-97.
The K.O. Report
On Memphis’ transition game: “I think they’re one of the best transition teams in the league. They push the ball up the court and I think we gotta do a better job. We gotta take care of the ball, and one thing they do, they don’t beat themselves. They don’t turn the ball over a lot, and they’re averaging almost nine steals per game.”
On Rodney Purvis’s elevated play lately: “You can just look at the last percentages of the last two point guards we’ve played. They’re shooting bad, and that’s his ball pressuring and his defensive pressure that’s allowing him to do that. Rodney’s really been stepping up, he’s really making it hard for those guards to penetrate and get in offense.”
On winning seven of the last 10 games: “It’s practice, it’s habits. I think our habits are coming together. You can have a decent game but have someone come out and shoot great and then lose the game. I don’t ever look at losing and winning as the benchmark. Of course we gotta win games, if not I’ll lose my job, but at the end of the day, I want to have great habits, I want guys to stay connected, being able to go through the negative times in the game and stay connected, and I think we’re doing a better job of that.”