Rutgers (12-6) at Connecticut (12-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 27, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: XL Center (16,606) -- Hartford, Connecticut. Television: BEN. Home Record: Rutgers 8-4. UConn 8-2. Away Record: Rutgers 3-3, UConn 1-2. Neutral Record: Rutgers 0-2, UConn 3-2. Conference Record: Rutgers 3-4, UConn 2-3. Series Record: UConn leads, 34-14.
GAMES NOTES: The Connecticut Huskies will look to bounce back when they welcome in the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to the XL Center for a Big East Conference battle on Sunday afternoon.
The Scarlet Knights are hitting the road after suffering a 72-60 loss to St. John's on Wednesday. It was the second straight setback and third in the last four games. The loss dropped Rutgers to 12-6 while pushing it below .500 in league play (3-4). In six previous road tests Rutgers has three wins to match its three losses. Rutgers will take on No. 21 Cincinnati this Wednesday in its next outing.
For the first time this season, UConn has fallen in back-to-back games after following up a 73-58 loss to No. 5 Louisville with a 69-61 setback against Pittsburgh. The Huskies are now 12-5 overall on the campaign while managing just a pair of wins in its first five Big East contests. In an all New England affair the Huskies will take on Providence in their next matchup.
UConn had won 10 straight meetings against Rutgers before the Scarlet Knights earned a surprising 67-60 win at home against the Huskies in their only meeting a year ago. The Huskies still hold a commanding 34-14 edge in the all- time series.
In its loss to St. John's, Rutgers shot just 36.5 percent from the field while committing 17 turnovers. The Scarlet Knights led for the majority of the first half but after St. John's took a 29-28 lead just before the break, the Scarlet Knights never led again.
Two strong scorers out of the backcourt have led the way for Rutgers. Eli Carter (15.6 ppg) is the primary option, but has been slowed of late, scoring in double figures in just two of the last five games. Carter was particularly off on Wednesday as he missed on 13-of-14 shots from the floor en route to matching a season low with just five points. Myles Mack (13.2 ppg) is the second option. Mack has been less erratic with his shot this season as he has connected on 51.3 percent from the floor and 46.6 percent from beyond the arc. Dane Miller (8.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Wally Judge (7.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg) are the most productive contributors on the front line.
Despite a 20-point effort from Ryan Boatright the Huskies were unable to knock off Pittsburgh. The Huskies fought their way to a 55-55 tie with 4:38 remaining but they then allowed the Panthers to close out the game on a 14-6 run.
The backcourt is where the Huskies have gotten the bulk of their production offensively speaking. Shabazz Napier (16.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.0 apg) has been strong as the team's leading scorer and one of two players dishing out at least four assists per game. Boatright (16.0 ppg, 4.7 apg) is the top distributor on the roster and a more than capable scorer as he shoots at a 46.6 percent clip. Omar Calhoun (10.9 ppg) provides additional support from the perimeter, while DeAndre Daniels (10.5 ppg) leads a rather shallow frontcourt. The lack of size for the Huskies has made rebounding a liability as they rank dead last in the conference on the boards (31.9 rpg).
Without much of a frontcourt themselves the Scarlet Knights won't be able to exploit UConn's weakness on the interior. Napier and Boatright will get a nice challenge from Carter and Mack but should be able to lift the Huskies to victory at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Connecticut 73, Rutgers 64
01/27 10:31:58 ET