HARTFORD, Conn. - The UConn men's basketball team (8-5, 1-1 American) returns to action on Saturday when it faces conference foe Cincinnati (11-3, 2-0 American) at the XL Center at 11 a.m. The game will be broadcasted by ESPN2, and it can also be hard on the UConn IMG Radio Network. The Huskies boast a record of 10-5 all-time against the Bearcats, and Connecticut has won two of its first three games played in Hartford this season. Cincinnati enters Saturday's contest with a mark of 1-1 on the road this year.
UConn rounded out its Florida trip on Tuesday with a convincing 58-44 win over USF at the Sun Dome in Tampa. Senior guard Ryan Boatright (Aurora, Ill.) tallied double-figures for the sixth time in the last seven games, while sophomore center Amida Brimah (Accra, Ghana) led all scorers with 13 points to go along with eight rebounds and a season-high six blocks. The Connecticut big man, who has averaged 12.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in conference play this year, has now blocked at least three shots in seven games this season, and his 2.9 blocks per game rank second among American Athletic Conference players.
The 44 points by USF on Tuesday marked the lowest total for a Connecticut opponent this season, as the Bulls became the seventh team to fail to shoot at least 40 percent in a game against the Huskies. Nine UConn players registered points in the victory, including freshman forward Rakim Lubin (Miami, Fla.), who connected on a career-high two field goals.
Cincinnati, which earned a share of the American Athletic Conference regular season title last season, comes into Saturday' match-up with wins in five of its last six games. The Bearcats feature a balanced offensive attack and boast one of the best defenses in the country. Cincinnati ranks first in the conference and sixth among Division I schools in scoring defense (54.1), and its opponents' 37.3 percent shooting percentage is the second-lowest mark in the league. The Huskies rank second in the league in scoring defense, allowing 59.7 points a game.
Two Cincinnati players average at least seven rebounds a game, including junior forward Octavius Ellis, who leads all Bearcats with 9.9 points a game this season. Cincinnati's plus 8.8 scoring margin is good for the top mark in the conference despite the Bearcats' league-low 62.9 points per game. The Bearcats have averaged 65.5 points a contest in their two road games.
After Saturday, the Huskies will once again hit the road for games against Tulsa (Jan. 13) and Stanford (Jan. 17). UConn's contest against Tulsa, which can be seen on CBS Sports Network, tips-off at 9:30 p.m.