NO. 21 UCONN AT NO. 23 CREIGHTON
When: Saturday, 2 p.m.
Where: CHI Health Center, Omaha, Neb.
Records: UConn 19-6 (7-6 Big East), Creighton 16-8 (10-3 Big East)
Radio: UConn Sports Network, WAVZ-New Haven (1300 AM), WGCH- Greenwich (1490 AM), WATR-Waterbury (1320 AM), WICH-Norwich (1310 AM, 94.5 FM), WILI-Wilimantic (1400 AM, 95.3 FM), 97.9 FM-ESPN Hartford, SiriusXM-983, SXM App 973
KEEP AN EYE ON
Pulling rank: When the UConn men’s basketball team dropped an 82-76 decision at Marquette on Jan. 11, it was the Huskies’ third straight loss to a ranked opponent on the road this season, and their 17th straight dating all the way back to a January 2014 win at Memphis.
It also appeared to be the Huskies’ final chance this season to beat a Top 25 team on the road. That same night in Cincinnati, Creighton lost to Xavier to fall to 8-8 overall on the season.
Since then, however, the Bluejays have won seven straight and find themselves ranked for the first time since Dec. 5. The Bluejays, picked to win the Big East this season and No. 9 in the nation in the preseason AP Top 25 poll, are currently ranked No. 23 — with a bullet.
UConn has had its own struggles since the calendar turned to 2023, but the Huskies have won three straight, including a convincing, 87-72 thrashing of 10thranked Marquette on Tuesday in Hartford. The Huskies remain ranked, at No. 21.
And so, UConn has one more chance to end its near decadelong string of futility against ranked opponents on the road. And this one should have some spice.
Centers of attention: After the Huskies’ 69-60 win over the Bluejays on Jan. 7 at Gampel Pavilion, coach Dan Hurley went out of his way to note how the Huskies, and particularly junior center Adama Sanogo, took umbrage to some preseason quotes from Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner. The 7-foot center told a podcast that he questioned whether Sanogo should have won Big East preseason Player of the Year honors over him, and also poked fun at UConn for never having beaten Creighton to that point.
It fueled Sanogo, who went out and dominated Kalkbrenner to the tune of 26 points.
Now, Sanogo & Co. get a chance to stick it to Kalkbrenner again. Creighton relies almost entirely on its strong starting five, each of whom averages 11.6 points per game or better. Taking advantage of that relative lack of depth could be a key for the Huskies on Saturday.
Then again, Creighton’s last seven opponents probably had a similar plan.