Discover more from The UConn Fast Break
Gameday: No. 21 UConn vs. No. 23 Creighton | 2 p.m., FOX
UConn is back. Right?
After the game, head coach Dan Hurley expressed confidence that he had a very good squad and that rough stretches are normal. Marquette head coach Shaka Smart agreed.
UConn can begin to shake off the “streaky” or “inconsistent” labels with another win against Creighton. After today, there are just five games left before the Big East Tournament.
Though the Huskies handled their business in the home meeting at Gampel, that was the program’s first win over the Bluejays and nothing has been a guarantee, even during their current three-game winning streak.
The game is at 2 p.m. on FOX, you can read our full preview on The UConn Blog.
The Bluejays have won seven straight games going into today while the Huskies are winners in four of their last five. Creighton’s CHI Health Center is the only Big East venue where UConn has not won a game.
Both teams are ranked in the 20s in the AP Poll but this is a top-10 matchup in KenPom, where the Huskies are ranked 6th and Creighton is 9th. KenPom predicts a 71-70 Creighton win and gives UConn a 46% win probability.
When: Saturday, Feb. 11, 2023
Where: CHI Health Center, Omaha Nebraska
TV/Radio: FOX / UConn Sports Network
Odds: UConn +4, over/under 142.5
UConn appears to be better offensively in most categories, particularly offensive rebounding and getting to the free-throw line. Defensively, UConn also has a decided edge despite a slight disadvantage in defensive rebounding.
The Huskies have been fouling more than today’s opponent, which may be particularly notable playing on the road.
Evan Miyakawa, proprietor of the advanced stats site EvanMiya.com, has made his site’s UConn page available for free this week.
In a Twitter thread, Miyakawa explained how these metrics can teach us more about this UConn team and today’s matchup. For example, he’s found that limiting opponent assists and making more FTs is particularly important for UConn.
When UConn holds opponents to 11 or fewer assists and makes as many free throws as its opponent, the Huskies are 39-3 under Dan Hurley and only win 19% of the time when they miss these two “targets.” Similar teams win 30% of the time when they miss these, showing why they’re uniquely correlated to victory for the Huskies.
Miyakawa also noted that UConn performs better in high-tempo games, defined as having 69 or more possessions.
The chart below outlines a few other worthy targets for fans (and maybe coaches) to track: 3pt percentage, turnovers forced, and offensive rebound percentage. UConn has won 77% of games under Dan Hurley where it hits the targets for these three metrics.