It’s difficult to expect anything less than a massive blowout when you’re the new No. 5 team in the nation that’s taking on the worst team in college basketball, according to KenPom. But that will be a reality as UConn heads back to Hartford on Tuesday for an evening matchup with Mississippi Valley State at 7 p.m.
To say the Huskies would be off to a strong start to the season would be the truth. Both of Connecticut’s blowout victories to begin the 2023-24 campaign have given fans plenty to be intrigued about with this roster. Donovan Clingan looks ready to be one of the top big men in the nation. Samson Johnson looks to be a key piece off the bench for the program. The team’s young core possesses plenty of potential as they continue developing throughout a long college basketball season. Those results have given the team a jump to the No. 5 spot in the A.P. Top 25 men’s basketball rankings.
That being said, things certainly haven’t been perfect through these early games, and ironing out as many kinks as possible will be the goals of these games. If you know how Dan Hurley operates, he’s going to value as much experience on the court as possible, regardless of the opponent.
This game against the Delta Devils is especially important when you consider who lies ahead for the Huskies after this game. After Tuesday’s showdown at the XL Center, the program heads to the bright lights of New York City and Madison Square Garden for the Empire Classic. There, they will take on foes like Indiana and either Louisville or Texas. That’s a major upgrade in competition compared to foes like Northern Arizona, Stonehill and Mississippi Valley State. Teams like Texas are not going to give the Huskies many breaks, especially considering that they’re the 11th most efficient defense in college basketball as of this article’s publication. The road ahead will be nowhere near easy.
As for focusing on the present, the team focuses on the Mississippi Valley State roster and has some players to look out for. Averaging 15.5 points per game, Rayquan Brown leads this team in scoring, and while he hasn’t shot great from beyond the arc, he’ll still be a player to look out for, especially with how he attacks the paint. At 10.5 points and 5.0 rebounds, Arecko Gipson is another double-digit scorer for the Delta Devils who will have an impact in the scoring column on Tuesday.
But the fact is that George Ivory’s squad won’t be able to compete against the Huskies. Mississippi Valley State has already struggled greatly against LSU and Oklahoma. Connecticut is easily the toughest opponent they’ve faced thus far, and the best thing that the Delta Devils can get from this matchup is preparing them for their upcoming conference schedule. The odds are certainly not in their favor.
Meanwhile, UConn will continue to build up the experience of its young core and gain even more chemistry with this roster. While it certainly won’t be the most entertaining game on the Huskies schedule, fans will certainly look forward to more Connecticut basketball. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. and can be watched on FS2 or the Fox Sports App.