In search for a start to a strong win streak against a Big East team, the University of Connecticut will look to care of business against No. 25 Xavier on Friday at the Cintas Center.
This will be the first time that UConn has faced the Musketeers all season. The Huskies were supposed to play the Musketeers on Dec. 28, but the game was postponed to this Friday due to UConn’s early season issues with COVID-19. Now, they’re ready to go against another ranked Big East foe.
Despite the Huskies seemingly holding their heads high after Tuesday’s win, they’re looking at a desperate Xavier team that is coming off two close losses to unranked programs in Seton Hall University and DePaul University. The Musketeers will be playing with a chip on their soldier as they search for a huge Big East win to break their cold streak. UConn can’t take its foot off the pedal.
The Huskies can’t mess around with a team as talented as the Musketeers either with plenty of talent spread across their roster. Forward Jack Nunge has been playing great basketball, currently averaging 12.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. That’s all without mentioning the junior’s solid shots from deep at 36.2%.
You can’t forget about Paul Scruggs either. The senior guard has had some impressive scoring recently, averaging 17 points over his last five contests. Xavier will definitely be looking for some effective scoring from Scruggs and the Huskies will need some impressive defense to stop him.
A huge key to UConn’s continued dominance would be to get back to their identity on the boards. The Huskies are second in the league in offensive rebounding percentage and top five in total rebounds per game.
Xavier and UConn are both facing some injuries. With UConn, Akok Akok is questionable to return to the lineup after missing his last two games with a foot sprain. If Akok were to return for the Musketeers, the Huskies would certainly be happy due to the forward’s huge defensive presence in the paint and improved shot from the three point line.
For Xavier, the team is missing Cesare Edwards and Dieonte Miles. Edwards has seen little time on the court for the Musketeers with just five games played this season. Miles, in 16 games this season, is averaging 1.8 points in 9.5 minutes.
Friday’s game will tipoff at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.