Our SB Nation Connecticut blog, appropriately called The UConn Blog, traded questions and answers with us today on tomorrow's matchup between the Vols and Huskies. Andrew Porter was kind enough to answer our questions; you can find our answers at their site here.
1. Is there any particular trend you've noticed in the losses to Seton Hall, Rutgers, and Cincinnati in the last five games?
I'm hesitant to say there has been an overarching theme, especially since the Cincinnati loss felt like a weird fluke
heavily influenced by the suspension of Ryan Boatright. Still, if I had to point to one glaring flaw it would be failure to take care of the ball. The Huskies had close to 20 turnovers in the losses to Seton Hall and Rutgers, and point guard Shabazz Napier
had 5 against Cincinnati. UConn's half-court offense isn't great to begin with, and when they're not taking care of the ball it makes it that much harder for them to score.
2. In last year's game the Vols did a decent job slowing down Kemba Walker
, but UConn still won with three other players in double figures. How much more balanced is this year's team, or is the key slowing down Jeremy Lamb
The team is more balanced and they'll be able to beat you in a lot of ways, but stopping Jeremy Lamb goes a long way. He's scoring almost 18 points a game and when he struggles (like he did against Cincinnati) it can be hard for UConn to find other ways to score. The Huskies can do it -- Shabazz Napier poured in 27 points to pick up the slack in the Cincy game -- but Lamb is the clear first option.
3. Andre Drummond's point totals seem to be a little inconsistent from game to game. Is this simply because of his youth, or has he struggled in more specific ways against certain things?
It's youth. He struggled against Cincinnati (seriously, everything went wrong in that game), but prior to that he had put up double-doubles in four of five games. There isn't a player in college basketball that can match his physical tools, but he's still not sure what to do with them. He can be tentative and over the past couples of weeks he's developed a habit of settling for a short jumper instead of attacking the rim, which is not what you want from a guy who is 6'10" and 270. If he returns to form for tomorrow's game watch out, because there isn't a lot opponents can do to stop him.
4. Last year's UConn team was 15-2 when they played the Vols and went on to win it all. This UConn team is 14-4 but just 4-3 in the Big East. How good do you think this year's team could ultimately be?
Ultimately? They could repeat, but they're still a ways away from playing basketball at that level. That's not unexpected though, because they're young (the team has no seniors and only one junior). Even with the loss of Kemba Walker they have more talent than they had last year, it's just a matter of getting everyone on the same page.
5. Do you miss playing the Lady Vols/UConn series as much as we do?
We might, but we've been a little busy setting win records and winning a few national titles. On the rare occasions we do miss Tennessee we can always pop in the tape of the four times UConn beat the Vols in the title game.
(RTT Editor's note: fans take on the nature of their coach)