Feb. 28, 2014
HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Connecticut men's basketball team returns to the XL Center for the final time in 2013-14 when it hosts No. 11 Cincinnati in a conference game set for March 1 at 12 p.m. The can be seen live on ESPN with Mike Patrick and Len Elmore on call and will be broadcasted live on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.
The Huskies (22-6) earned a bounce-back win over USF on Wednesday, defeating the Bulls, 61-56, at the Sun Dome. Three UConn players recorded double-digit points, headlined by a 17-point performance from senior guard Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) who shot 6-of-13 from the field. Senior forward Niels Giffey (Berlin, Germany) provided an offensive spark from the bench, tallying 11 points, including three buckets from beyond the arc. Despite being out-rebounded by a 39-29 margin, the Huskies held the Bulls to just a 37.7 shooting percentage and used an 18-to-0 run in the second half to claim the lead for good.
UConn and Cincinnati have met on the hardwood 13 times in a series that dates back to 1994-95, with the Huskies holding an 8-5 advantage, but the Bearcats have claimed the last two contests, including a 63-58 victory at Fifth Third Arena on Feb. 6. The Bearcats (24-4) have been a tough road team this season, earning a 6-2 record on their opponent's home court. Senior guard Sean Kilpatrick heads the formidable Cincinnati offense, averaging 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. As a team, Cincinnati holds opponents to just 57.7 ppg and a shooting percentage of 39.3.
Cincinnati will be the sixth AP Top-25 ranked opponent UConn has faced this season with the Huskies winning three of the previous five matchups. Since current head coach Kevin Ollie took over the helm of the Huskies, Connecticut has compiled a 6-5 record against top-ranked foes.
Connecticut has enjoyed success at the XL Center this season, going 3-0 against American Athletic Conference opponents. Since the building opened in 1976, the Huskies hold a stellar 239-86 (.725) record in their off-campus home facility.
Saturday's battle will feature two of the top defenses in the American, as the Huskies check in at No. 2 in the conference with a .390 defensive field goal percentage, with the Bearcats following in third at .393. Cincinnati is ranked second with a +11.8 scoring margin, while the Huskies sit in third at +11.0.