Men’s Basketball: UConn heads back to MSG to take on Syracuse


Alterique Gilbert will look to lead the Huskies against rival Syracuse. Photo by Judah Shingleton/The Daily Campus

Time and Place: 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York

Where to Watch: ESPN, 42.1 on the UConn TV listings

Last Meeting: UConn lost 72-63 on Dec. 5, 2017 at Madison Square Garden

UConn’s Last Time Out: The Huskies got a 94-66 win over University of Missouri-Kansas City on Nov. 11. Tarin Smith led the team in scoring with 22 points.

Syracuse’s Last Time Out: The Orange defeated Morehead State 84-70 at the Carrier Dome. Tyus Battle led the team with 23 points.

Projected Starting Lineups: UConn (2-0) vs. Syracuse (2-0)

G: Jalen Adams vs. Tyus Battle

This matchup features two of the most dynamic guards in the country. Battle led the Orange in scoring against Morehead State on Nov. 10, shooting 7-for-15 from the floor in 39 minutes, and Adams tallied 20 points in UConn’s most recent game on Nov. 11, shooting 7-for-10 from the floor in 20 minutes of play. Adams will have a challenge guarding Battle, who is quick and crafty in the paint, and Adams will get to test the new fast-paced UConn offense against the Syracuse zone.

G: Alterique Gilbert vs. Buddy Boeheim

The son of Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, Buddy has started the first two games as a freshman, netting three points in each start. He played 27 minutes in their home opener and 25 minutes against Morehead State. Gilbert has arguably been UConn’s best player in the young season, showing consistency and hustle on both ends of the ball; he’s scored double-digit points in his first two games and doesn’t even look like he’s had shoulder surgery three years in a row.

G/F: Christian Vital vs. Elijah Hughes

Vital has been atrocious from the floor in the first two games, but he leads the team in rebounding and is one of the most energetic players on the floor at any time. Hughes recently dropped 21 on Morehead State and it will be a treat to watch the physicality this matchup will bring. Vital historically plays well at the Garden; he scored 17 points last year and two years ago, he hit two free throws with 2.2 seconds to go to elevate the Huskies to a 52-50 victory.

C: Josh Carlton vs. Paschal Chukwu

Carlton has gotten off to a strong start this season. As the leading big man with even bigger expectations, Carlton stepped up and dropped a career-high 17 points and eight rebounds in UConn’s opener. He had a less impressive performance against Morehead State, but guarding the 7-foot-2 Chukwu will be a good test for the sophomore. Chukwu scored 14 against Morehead State and grabbed 10 rebounds.

F: Tyler Polley vs. Oshae Brissett

Polley has cracked the starting lineup for the first two games, so it’s clear that UConn head coach Dan Hurley sees something in him. Polley has the prettiest 3-point stroke on the team, but he’s still trying to come into his own. Polley doubled his point total from the opener, scoring 12 against UMKC. Brissett scored 20 in Syracuse’s opener and 17 against Morehead State, and he’s one of the Orange’s best scorers.

Talking Points

A Real Test: Both UConn and Syracuse have not played a high-caliber opponent, and this will be a challenge for both teams. The Orange are 9.5-point favorites heading into the game and the Huskies’ new offense will have to adjust quickly to the patented Boeheim 2-3 zone. Most of the UConn roster has no experience playing at MSG and it’s the Huskies’ first road game of the year, so it will be a challenge.

Injury Update: Isaiah Whaley, who suffered an ankle injury in UConn’s home opener, participated in practice and will be available. Grad transfers Kassoum Yakwe and Tarin Smith, who have been restricted to minute limits because of lingering injuries, will be fully available.

A Longstanding Rivalry: UConn and Syracuse will meet up for the 95th time in the schools’ histories. The Huskies are 38-56 all-time against the Orange and have played a plethora of classic games. You can watch some of the highlights ahead of the game here.

Stephanie Sheehan is the managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at She tweets @steph_sheehan.

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