What to Expect: UConn

  • 11/22/2013 10:37 am in

It’s a quick turnaround for Indiana as the Hoosiers will take the court at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET tonight in Madison Square Garden opposite UConn in the 2K Sports Classic final.

The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 with John Saunders, Fran Fraschilla and Jeff Goodman on the call, as well as on the IU radio network.

Indiana easily passed its first test away from Assembly Hall on Thursday night with a comfortable 102-84 rout of Washington in the 2K Sports Classic semifinals, but a much greater challenge awaits tonight in the form of the UConn Huskies.

Second-year coach Kevin Ollie has one of the nation’s best backcourts with Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatwright and Omar Calhoun. Connecticut is also decidedly more experienced than Indiana as Napier, who won a national championship in 2011 as a freshman, still has the reigns at point guard.

That said, the performance put together by Indiana against Washington was more than encouraging and the Hoosiers have the opportunity to open more eyes nationally tonight in the world’s most famous arena.


The Huskies will go as far as their backcourt can take them this season and the mix of Napier, Boatwright and Calhoun is one of the best Indiana will see this season.

The 6-foot-1 Napier, a point guard who can do a little bit of everything, is UConn’s leading scorer (14.8 ppg), rebounder (8.4 rpg) and assist man (6.6 apg). He’s averaging 5.8 free throw attempts per game and is hitting 82.8 percent of them. For a player who has the ball so frequently, Napier has steadily improved his turnover percentage each season and through five games, he’s coughing it up on just 14 percent of his possessions.

Boatwright, a junior, is essentially UConn’s second point guard and also contributes in several areas. Boatwright brings averages of 12 points, 4.2 assists and 4 rebounds into tonight’s game and is 7-of-15 on his 3-point attempts this season.

A third guard, the 6-foot-6 Calhoun also starts and brings more 3-point shooting to the table. Calhoun is 9-of-23 from behind the arc this season. Collectively, the trio is 22-of-48 from distance through five games, which is a big reason why UConn ranks seventh nationally in 3-point shooting percentage at 47.8.

DeAndre Daniels, a 6-foot-9 junior, is a versatile forward who can make plays off the dribble from the perimeter and also finish around the basket. Daniels is much more effective inside the arc (55 percent on 2s and 23.5 percent on 3s), so Indiana is best served allowing him to settle from the perimeter. A former five-star recruit, Daniels had a team-high 23 points in UConn’s narrow 72-70 win over Boston College on Thursday night. The length of Daniels also allows him to blocks some shots (4.2 block percentage).

The rotation also includes sophomore forward Phillip Nolan, freshman center Amida Brimah, senior forward Lasan Kromah and senior wing Niels Giffey. Brimah, a 7-foot freshman, has the potential to develop into an elite shot blocker and Giffey is a 3-point specialist who has knocked down 13 of his 17 attempts this season.


As well as Indiana played offensively on Thursday, its defense must tighten up on Friday against one of the nation’s top offensive units.

Connecticut enters tonight’s game with the 8th most efficient offense in the land. The Huskies are shooting 47.8 on 3s, 52.2 percent on 2s and 76.6 percent on free throws. They’re also taking great care of the ball with a turnover percentage of just 13.4.

Simply put, Indiana cannot afford to leave shooters or allow dribble penetration by Napier and Boatwright or the 1.10 points per possession allowed against Washington will balloon into an even higher figure against UConn.

The flip side is that UConn also has to account for Indiana and the Hoosiers look to have a distinct advantage in two key areas. Indiana ranks 22nd nationally in free throw rate and fifth in offensive rebounding percentage, which are two areas they need to exploit to win the game.

Here’s a look at how the teams stack up in those two areas through five games with national ranks in parenthesis:


UConn wasn’t a good defensive rebounding team last season and after what Indiana did to Washington on the boards, it’s a major concern for Ollie.

Indiana isn’t going to win a shooting contest on the perimeter with UConn, but attacking off the drive and getting to the line is a second key for the Hoosiers to prevail.


Both the Vegas line (UConn by 1.5 as of this early this morning and now Indiana by 1.5) and Pomeroy prediction (UConn 79-77) call for a tight game and this is easily Indiana’s most significant challenge to-date given the experience of the Huskies and the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.

Indiana is going to need a much improved defensive effort on the perimeter against the trio of Napier, Boatwright and Calhoun, who are more than capable of carving up the nation’s best teams. Fortunately for the Hoosiers, UConn is average at best on the boards and if the Huskies opt to go zone, that could open up the offensive glass and second chance opportunities even more.

Establishing pace and taking care of the ball also loom large for Indiana as UConn is averaging just 67.4 adjusted possessions per game and its aforementioned turnover rate of 13.4 (compared to 19.3 for Indiana) will be problematic if the game is played at the Huskies pace.


Established: 1881
Students: 17,528
Final Four appearances: Four (1999, 2004, 2009, 2011)
National championships: Three (1999, 2004, 2011)

All tempo-free stats from KenPom.com.

(Photo credit: University of Connecticut Athletics)

Filed to:

  • CreamandCrimson

    This is a great opportunity for the Hoosiers. A great challenge for sure…but a great opportunity. A win would be absolutely huge and a potentially big scalp come NCAA Tournament resume discussion. A loss wouldn’t be too damaging as long as we compete well. Just playing this game should help our young squad learn quite a bit.

    -Yogi vs. Napier = They both are extremely important and if one gets in foul trouble or is off their game, it will spell trouble for his team.
    -I assume Sheehey will draw quite a bit of time against the 6’1″ Boatright. Can Will guard him without getting beat off the dribble or getting in foul trouble? Can they contain IU’s size advantage on the perimeter?
    -Can Troy Williams back up his awesome game last night with another one tonight?
    -They shoot the ball very well, can we keep them from getting too hot from deep?
    -IU must continue to control the glass on both ends.

    Big test, big opportunity, big learning experience…it should be a very interesting and fun game in the Garden.

  • chiswede

    Looks like Vegas switched to favoring us by 1.5 now. Looking forward to this one.

  • Yeah, the line did move. It’s up to two in some places now.

  • BMusic

    Can’t help but think of the Pitt game a couple years ago, when the overlooked Hoosiers came into the Garden with something to prove.

  • chiswede

    Gaining respect, now they have to prove they deserve it.

  • Gregory Spera

    Somebody is betting down the line. Lots of smart money coming in on the Hoosiers.

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    Greetings from UConn country!

  • patrick

    U C O N N

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    Hello Patrick, it is me from the boneyard.

  • patrick

    Dont worry the Huskies aren’t over looking the Hoosiers

  • patrick

    Big test for Both teams

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    Do a lot of people comment on these articles or are most people on the forums?

  • CreamandCrimson

    If you’re going to post here (which is perfectly fine)…you might as well contribute something.

    -What do Huskies fans see as the keys to beat the Hoosiers tonight?

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    My bad, just waiting for someone else to post. My keys

    1) Try to contain Noah Vonleh. We were after him on the recruiting trail last fall so the coaching staff knows him pretty well. UConn needs to challenge/contain him and Williams on the boards.

    2) Napier has to have an all around good game, not just as a scorer like last night against BC. He also must make life very difficult for Yogi on the defensive end. He needs to bring his A game.

    3) DeAndre must play with confidence on the interior and not settle for jump shots. He’s lethal from 12 ft and in.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I’m not on the forum enough to comment but the game ended late and most folks are at work today. You’ll see more comments as the day go on. But thanks for visiting…I think you’ll find most on here are pretty professional when it comes to comments unless someone starts the bragging rights.
    Good Luck.

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    Should be a great game tonight. I’ll pop in from time to time today to talk basketball. I’m a student and I have know Friday classes, so yeah I’ll be around.

    Good Luck as well. Should be an excellent game.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    See, Good response. That’s what we like respect and good factual BB talk.
    I think our biggest issue will be the 3 pts shooting, we tend not to defend well from the 3.
    But UConn’s biggest issue will be the dribble drive, rebounding and FT’s. The FT’s could go either way.
    I thought the ref’s let BC back in the game late the way they were calling the fouls. It will be interesting to see how the call the game tonight, tight or let them play?
    We do have a lot of respect for UConn.
    How do you like your new coach?

  • CreamandCrimson

    Good stuff, it all sounds about right. I was impressed with DeAndre Daniels last night but from what I gather (here and watching last night) he can tend to drift to the perimeter a bit too much for UConn’s good.

    Good luck to you this season (except tonight).

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    reins not reigns.

    Sorry to be that guy, it was driving me crazy.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Their leading rebounder is a 6″1′ PG? Hit that glass, boys.

    On the other hand, 8 boards a game for a little guy- must be a battler.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Were you surprised by Uconn’s perfomance last night? I expected them to win pretty easily.

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    You’re right. He’s really lean and a natural 3 but we like to go with a 3 guard look, so he becomes our stretch 4. He tries to bring his man away from the basket where he has the advantage. However that usually only leaves one man to rebound, which is why we are so poor in that area.

  • Dagwoods

    Or just the fans. I’d rather be the underdog in this one.

  • Dave Carnes


  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    Coach Ollie is a people person. Very very likable. And the fact he was player for us back in the day makes it that much cooler. He is great at drawing up plays too. Excellent basketball IQ and great evaluator of talent. Also he really makes great connections with recruits, so hopefully that pays off soon. UConn truly fans think he can lead us to another Final Four or even a 4th national championship!

  • Dayton Dave

    Boatright…no “w”.
    Who will defend Napier? Matchups on the perimeter will be…ahem…challenging. Likewise, inside, UConn doesn’t matchup well with IU. So, will both teams be using the zone a lot?

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    UConn hasn’t played much zone this season. expect Daniels to play on Vonleh most of the game with help on the inside.

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    Napier is nasty on the glass for a PG. And rebounding is definitely our weakness. Gotta tight things up.

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    definitely didn’t play up to their potential. Napier had a B game and we got outrebounded by 1. The team needs to develop that killer instinct.

  • PDXHoosier

    IU hardly ever plays zone

  • FeatheryOne

    Rebounding is our weakness? Did you see the chart referenced in the article?

  • FeatheryOne

    My bad. Didn’t see you were a Husky

  • TorontoHoosierFan

    Was at the game last night and shocked by how many IU fans were in attendance. What a great fan base. As one of the few fans who is not an IU alumn, it’s great to meet fans who are always so welcoming to an ‘outsider’. If IU can control its turnovers and have a good defensive effort, they should win tonight, we’re the much more talented team.

  • HoosierDaddy

    Should be a great night for watching basketball.

    -IU plays their first ranked team of the season.

    -Pacers take on Brad Stevens and the Celtics.

    -Zeller and the Bobcats take on the Suns.

    I may not even leave the house tonight.

  • HoosierTrav

    He’s a UCONN fan stating that his Huskies weakness is rebounding the ball.

  • HoosierTrav

    I suspect you guys will be playing more zone than you’re particularly used to seeing tonight. WE typically struggle mightily with teh zone and really eat teams up man to man. I think we have a clear advantage down low but people are really writing Yogi Ferrell off on his matchup with Napier. I really believe Yogi can check, or at least match Napier offensively. This is by far the most intriguing matchup. I’m excited to see if our defense and rebounding travels one more night.

  • HoosierTrav

    Lets be honest…. this is going to come down to Yogi vs Napier. We will most likely own the paint and get to the line often, but can we stop their 3 guard set from spraying us with 3 balls.

  • HoosierTrav

    Thanks for being civil.

  • HannerTime Hoosier

    U no, CTC may be smarter than we think, he may be playing JH @ guard to have another 6’8″ guy to stop one of their guards and give us an edge on rebounding/blocking/scoring?!

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    Kemba’s Bobcats 😉

  • Leon Vince-Wilcock Sandcastle

    Good game IU fans! Game of the year so far!

  • chiswede

    That was a “B” from Napier? I’d hate to see even a B+. That kid killed us.