MBB: UConn travels to Florida with spotless record

12/1/22 MBB vs Oklahoma State by Erin Knapp. UConn’s Men’s Basketball team takes on Oklahoma State in an energy filled game at Gampel Pavilion on Dec. 1, 2022. The UConn Huskies defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys 74-64 after a slow start for the #8 Huskies.

Before the University of Connecticut’s game against the Buffalo Bulls, the team was awarded a No. 25 selection in the A.P. top-25 poll. While many programs would accept the compliment, every player and coach in the building knew that the Huskies were better. 

“I feel like we’re a top-five team. Everyone has their different opinions. We’re just going to keep on rolling and keep on doing our thing,” said Alleyne. 

Fast forward to Dec. 7 and those words are spot on. The Huskies have done it all and thanks to the return of players like Andre Jackson and Jordan Hawkins from early season injuries, they’re strong and they have their heads held high. They’re deep with players like Donovan Clingan and Joey Calcaterra, giving opposing rosters a run for their money. It’s been tough Big East basketball night after night and fans are loving every moment of the action. 

That action continues when the Huskies will take on the University of Florida Gators in the hot area of Gainesville, FL in a 9 p.m. matchup. It’s certainly better temperatures than Storrs, an area where fans stood in line for hours just for a chance to cheer on their Huskies in the front rows of Gampel Pavillion. This is certainly a much different matchup. Gators fans can comfortably watch in summer clothes while they cheer on their team to grab what would be one of the biggest upsets of the entire season. 

On the hardwood, UConn knows this game is no slouch, as they look to continue with a perfect record going forward. Although Florida is 6-3 and have had their share of losses to teams like FAU and Xavier, this is still a home matchup and they’ve got the weapons to do some damage to a surging Huskies roster. When you talk about this Gators roster, it’s impossible to leave out their leading scorer Colin Castleton, an Abdul-Jabaar watchlist member and a guy who makes this group so much better on both sides of the court. On offense, he averages 16.6 points per game on 51.4% shooting, while he gives Florida nearly three blocks on the defensive end. Junior Adama Sanogo is going to have a tough matchup in what should be an exciting battle of big men. 

Florida is also strong in a lot of areas. Their turnover percentage of 15.6 is good for no. 28 in all of college basketball, they’re top 50 in offensive efficiency and, most notably, their team average of 6.1 blocks per game is one of the top programs in all of college basketball at No. 9.  

I could definitely see the Huskies taking a lot more shots from beyond the perimeter this game, especially with strong interior defense numbers from the Gators. KenPom has the Huskies walking out of Florida with a 77-72 win on the road and with all the factors I’ve listed above, that’s very reasonable. 

This matchup will be gritty and the Huskies have all of the momentum to remain one of the few perfect teams in all of college basketball. However, one of Dan Hurley’s biggest tasks this game will be to ensure his team doesn’t become too overconfident and stays just as determined as they were at the beginning of the season.  

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