Undefeated Indiana ramps up its non-conference schedule in a big way this weekend, heading to the Big Apple to participate in the Saatva Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden.
The loaded field includes UConn, Texas and Louisville with action getting underway on Sunday afternoon.
First up for IU are the the 2023 NCAA National Champion Connecticut Huskies.
Game Day Essentials:
No. 5 UConn (3-0) vs. Indiana (3-0)
- Tip Time: 1:00 p.m. Eastern, Sunday
- Location: Madison Square Garden (19,500), New York City, New York
- Television: ESPN (Karl Ravech, Jay Williams, Myron Medcalf)
- Stream: Watch ESPN
- IU Radio Network: IU Radio Network
- Point Spread: UConn is around an 11-point favorite
- KenPom Projected Score: No. 71 Indiana 68 – No. 4 Connecticut 80
- Series: UConn leads series, 6-4 (IU won last meeting 57-54 in 2019)
Prep work in NYC✓ pic.twitter.com/dVRZkc9YeI
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) November 19, 2023
UConn’s Dan Hurley
Connecticut head coach Dan Hurley is in his sixth season as head coach of the Huskies. In his time so far, Hurley has a career record of 258-160 (.617). Hurley has led the Huskies to three NCAA tournament appearances in his six years. In 2023, Hurley coached Connecticut to their fifth national title victory, beating out the San Diego State Aztecs for the championship. It was their first championship title since 2014.
Hurley previously spent time as head coach of Rhode Island prior to UConn. At Rhode Island, Hurley led the team to two NCAA tournament appearances, as well as a berth in the NIT. In 2018, Hurley won the Atlantic-10 Coach of the Year award after leading the Rams to a first-place finish in the regular season.
Hurley started his collegiate career as an assistant at Rutgers from 1997-2001. After coaching at a prep school 2001-10, Hurley was named head coach of Wagner. Hurley spent two seasons with Wagner before moving on to Rhode Island.
UConn’s results and roster
Connecticut has opened with three wins, with victories over KenPom No. 244 Northern Arizona, No. 349 Stonehill, and No. 362 Mississippi Valley State. UConn won all three games by at least 30 points.
With the departure of All-Big East selections Adama Sanogo and Jordan Hawkins, UConn has found increased production from returning sophomores Alex Karaban and Donovan Clingan. Last season, Karaban earned All-Big East freshman team honors after averaging just over nine points a game. Karaban is averaging 17 points a contest so far this season, along with six rebounds.
7-foot-2 Donavan Clingan is also a player the Huskies are looking at to make a considerable strides this season. Clingan has averaged 15 points while also hauling in over six rebounds per game this season. Along with Karaban, Clingan earned All-Big East Freshman honors last season.
6-foot-5 guard Tristen Newton has added 15.3 points and a team-high 7.3 rebounds a night.
Newcomers Stephon Castle and Cam Spencer also make a considerable impact.
Castle was a five-star recruit out of Newton High School in Georgia and was a teammate of current IU freshman Jakai Newton. Castle has gotten off to a fast start, averaging 14.5 points per game, but like Newton will miss the game on Sunday with an injury.
Spencer comes as a graduate transfer out of Rutgers. Spencer averaged 43.4 percent from beyond the arc last season at Rutgers and is already up to 45 percent so far this season.
UConn’s game notes (via Connecticut Athletics)
The 2023 Saatva Empire Classic will mark the 19th consecutive season that UConn has participated in a November MTE (multiple-team event). In all, UConn has played a combined 53 games in those MTEs and owns a record of 42-14 (.750). UConn Coach Dan Hurley is 11-3 (.786) in MTE games since taking over the program in 2018.
THE WORLD’S MOST FAVORITE ARENA
Other than its home courts in Storrs and Hartford, there is no venue where UConn has played more games than Madison Square Garden — 128 to be exact. The Huskies have an overall record of 68-60 (.531) at the Garden and they have won 10 championships there, including seven BIG EAST Tournament titles (1990, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2011). UConn Coach Dan Hurley is 6-6 at MSG with the Huskies.
UConn and Indiana have met 10 times in their storied histories, a series dating back to Dec. 17, 1938. The Huskies have won five of the last seven meetings in the series, most recently defeating IU in the-then 2K Classic at MSG on Nov. 22, 2013. The most recent meeting between the programs came on Dec. 10, 2019 – also at Madison Square Garden in the Jimmy V Classic. IU won that game by a score of 57-54. Each of the last six meetings between the Huskies and Hoosiers have been decided by single digits.
BATTLE OF THE BIGS
Sunday’s contest will be the first of nine outings this season in which Donovan Clingan will face another member of the 20-man Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award preseason watch list. Clingan and Indiana’s Kel’el Ware were each members of the list.
UConn’s KenPom notable numbers:
(out of 362 teams)
Tempo – No. 206 (Offense No. 58 / Defense No. 304)
Offensive Efficiency – No. 6
Connecticut is the most efficient two-point field goal team in the country, with the team shooting over a 73% clip so far this season. The Huskies are just outside the top-10 (No. 11 in the country) in effective field goal percentage.
UConn also has one of the best offensive rebound percentages in the country, sitting at 47.4 percent as a team (No. 2 in the country).
The Huskies don’t get a lot of their points from three (29.1 percent of total points, No. 192 in the country) and that’s mainly because they haven’t been efficient from deep (33.3 percent, No. 145 in the country).
Defensive Efficiency – No. 7
UConn has held their opponents to a 39.8 effective field goal percentage (No. 16 in the country) over the stretch of their first three games.
The Huskies have held opponents to a low rate of makes from beyond the arc (26.5 percent as a team, No. 55 in the country) as well as on the inside (39.8 percent as a team, No. 19 in the country).
Connecticut also forces a good percentage of turnovers (21.7 percent as a team, No. 53 in the country).
The only area where the Huskies have seen a bit of struggle is on the glass. UConn has given up a fair number of offensive rebounds (26.9 percent as a team, No. 118 in the country).
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