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Men's College Basketball
Preview
Connecticut vs West Virginia
When: 6:30 PM ET, Sunday, November 23, 2014
Where: Coliseo Roberto Clemente, San Juan

The Puerto Rico Tip-Off has become a Big East reunion for the championship game, with Connecticut set to face on former conference rival West Virginia. The Huskies and Mountaineers came back from second-half deficits in their semifinal victories, so neither team feels like it has played its best basketball yet. Both teams rely on their defense, and that was evident in their respective wins Friday.

Like it has many times over the years, Connecticut relies on shot-blocking, and the Huskies have quite a defensive presence in the middle in center Amida Brimah, a sophomore who had five blocks against Dayton, including three in a late Flyers possession that led to a shot-clock violation. West Virginia, like most Bob Huggins-coached teams, puts a tremendous amount of ball pressure on teams, forcing turnovers that are converted into easy baskets on the other end of the floor. The team that can impose its offensive will and not get rattled by the opposing defense the best has the best chance to come away as tourney champion.

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2

ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (4-0): Happy with a victory? Not Huggins, who is always looking for ways his team can improve, so after the Mountaineers' come-from-behind win over Boston College, the West Virginia head man was looking at how his team got in the deficit instead of how it came back from it. Knowing his team has a lot of potential, Huggins wants to see more consistency from his squad. “We got ourselves in a heck of a hole by 11 to that team,” Huggins told reporters. “When you play a team like theirs with good guards who control the game and you're screwing around not taking care of the ball and not finishing, you're going to get in trouble and that's exactly what we did.”

ABOUT CONNECTICUT (3-0): Through their first two games, the Huskies struggled from the free-throw line, a sharp contrast from the excellent shooting from the charity stripe that epitomized the team's national championship run last March. But against Dayton, Connecticut hit its first 10 free-throw attempts and finished 19-of-24 for the game, a stat that made coach Kevin Ollie very happy. “I wanted guys to just go up to the free-throw line and just visualize those shots going in,” Ollie told reporters. “And have confidence. We want guys to just step up and knock down those shots, because it keeps momentum.”

TIP-INS

1. West Virginia has outrebounded its four opponents this year 176-127, including a 95-27 edge on the offensive glass.

2. With a victory, the Huskies can win their second straight November tournament title and third in the last five seasons.

3. Connecticut has dominated the series between the two teams, going 16-5 and winning four of its last five against the Mountaineers.

PREDICTION: Connecticut 68, West Virginia 65



Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Neutral Day Night Conf
Connecticut 3-0 W3 1-0 0-0 2-0 2-0 1-0 0-0
West Virginia 4-0 W4 2-0 0-0 2-0 1-0 3-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Connecticut West Virginia
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/7/12 UCONN 71 WVU 67 71 24 49.0 67 40 34.7
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Connecticut S. Napier 26 38.9 8
West Virginia K. Jones 25 47.6 4
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Connecticut J. Lamb 8 1 7
West Virginia D. Rutledge 11 6 5
Assists Player  
Connecticut S. Napier 6
West Virginia G. Browne 3
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Connecticut R. Boatright 63 46.3 21
West Virginia D. Williams 61 39.5 27
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Connecticut K. Facey 20 5 15
West Virginia D. Williams 39 19 20
Assists Player  
Connecticut R. Boatright 14
West Virginia J. Staten 18
Quickchart Matchup
Connecticut Off vs  West Virginia Defense
68.7 Points For
60.3 Points Against
45.5 FG%
48.0 FG%
29.3 Reb
28.0 Reb
West Virginia Off vs  Connecticut Defense
77.0 Points For
58.0 Points Against
37.7 FG%
39.1 FG%
28.0 Reb
25.7 Reb