Wednesday , Mar , 01 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Red-hot Huskies bring momentum to South Florida

=== Red-hot Huskies bring momentum to South Florida ===

(Sports Network) – Fresh off arguably their biggest victory of the
season, the fourth-ranked Connecticut Huskies are set to take on the South
Florida Bulls in Big East Conference action. On Sunday, UConn recorded a
hard-fought 89-75 victory over Villanova, avenging a road loss to the
Wildcats a few weeks ago. The two teams are now tied atop the Big East
standings with two games left, and the Huskies have now won three straight
games and 14 of their last 15 since their only other loss of the season, a
surprising upset at Marquette. UConn is the obvious favorite tonight against
a South Florida team that is on the verge of completing a winless Big East
season.

The Bulls have lost 16 consecutive games, as their last victory came way
back in December over non-league foe Loyola Marymount. The most recent
setback occurred on Sunday, as they were held below 60 points for the fifth
straight game in a 62-44 loss to Rutgers. UConn has won the only three
previous meetings with South Florida, but the teams haven’t squared off since
1981.

UConn excelled at both ends of the floor in the impressive win over Villanova
last time out. The Huskies blocked 11 shots and limited ‘Nova to 33.8 percent
shooting from the floor. Offensively, they connected on 54.5 percent of their
field goal attempts, including an 8-of-13 effort from three-point range.
Denham Brown led the way in the win with 23 points, and Rashad Anderson nailed
5-of-7 shots from behind the arc en route to 17 points. Rudy Gay contributed
13 points for the Huskies, and Marcus Williams finished with 10 points and 12
assists. Center Hilton Armstrong hit all four of his shots from the field en
route to nine points, and he rejected eight shots as well.

UConn is averaging 81.7 ppg this season, and it is limiting its opponents
to 64.6 ppg on 37.1 percent shooting from the floor. Gay is the leading
scorer for the squad with 15.9 ppg, and Anderson adds 13.6 ppg off the
bench on 43.3 percent accuracy from long range. With Williams, Armstrong,
Brown and Josh Boone in the mix, there is not a more talented team nationally.

While South Florida’s record suggests that the team is not good enough to
compete in the Big East, that simply is not the case. The Bulls have been
competitive in the vast majority of their league games, even those against the
elite teams of the conference. There are some talented players in the lineup,
such as James Holmes, Solomon Jones, Melvin Buckley and McHugh Mattis. Jones
is scoring 17.0 ppg this season, despite his 38.4 percent shooting from the
floor. Jones and Buckley add 12.9 ppg apiece, and Jones has also tallied 9.8
rpg and 82 blocks. Rounding out the group is Mattis with 9.7 ppg and 7.3 rpg.
Unfortunately, no other player for the Bulls is posting over 4.1 ppg, and a
lack of depth has proven to be extremely problematic. South Florida is posting
only 60.0 ppg, overshadowing the fact that it is surrendering 64.6 ppg.

In the ugly loss to Rutgers last time out, USF turned the ball over 18 times
and shot 31.5 percent from the field. Jones and Buckley scored 14 points
apiece in defeat.

UCONN SFLORIDA