Pregame: Huskies take on Wildcats in blockbuster Big East matchup 

The UConn Men’s Basketball team loses to Creighton 59-55 Tuesday at the XL Center. The Huskies seemed to recover from a difficult start entering halftime down 10 points but ultimately could not pull off the win. Photo by Julie Spillane/The Daily Campus.

It’s one of the biggest matchups of the year in the Big East. It’s arguably the biggest college basketball matchup on Saturday and a true test of strength for two of the best programs in college basketball.  

The UConn men’s basketball team will travel to the Wells Fargo Center to take on Villanova University, the No. 12 team in the country and a program that sits in second place in the powerhouse Big East conference. 

The Huskies won’t be facing an average Wildcats lineup either. This is a Villanova team coming off a loss to a No. 24 Marquette lineup and the Wildcats are ready to avenge their loss. 

What more lies in store for this loaded matchup? The high-scoring guard duo of Colin Gillespie and Justin Moore will undoubtedly give the Huskies a hard time on defense. When the Huskies have to stop a guard who is No. 3 in the Big East in scoring alongside a 15.1 ppg scorer in Moore, it’s a recipe for trouble.  

Gillespie in particular is one of the biggest threats from beyond the perimeter. The guard shoots 42.44% from the 3-point line, which is good for the 25th best mark in all of college basketball. The Wildcats rank 23rd in all of college basketball in three-point field goal attempts. UConn simply can’t let the Wildcats get going from deep if they want this important win. 

However, UConn certainly has weapons of its own to counter the brutal guard duo. This is a Huskies team that ranks third in all of college basketball in team rebounds per game and second in blocks per game.  

A key for a Huskies victory lies in a bounce back game for Adama Sanogo. The leading rebounder in the Big East will certainly need a memorable performance from the big man for a win in Philly. Given how dangerous Sanogo can be in the paint for the Huskies, he’ll definitely be a weapon for Dan Hurley in Philly. 

Gillespie won’t have an easy time scoring with Big East talent R.J. Cole guarding him, either. Cole’s being ability to hurt the Wildcats with a steal on the other end and a tough bucket in paint doesn’t bode well for Wildcats coach Jay Wright. The guard battle between Cole and Gillespie will only add to the lore of Saturday’s battle between the two schools 

While there are plenty of uncertain outcomes for Saturday’s game, one thing is for certain: It’s a game you won’t want to miss. You can catch the action on Fox at 12 p.m. 

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