The game remains a mystery.
Few watched UConn's Dec. 31 loss to Houston. New Year's Eve celebrations and the 9 p.m. start time made most of Huskies nation look the other way at the game. But, once the New Year came, and perhaps those who woke up New Year's Day, the score kind of hit everyone over the head.
Houston 75, UConn 71.
The Huskies went on to lose to a good Southern Methodist team in a sold-out arena and then have lost at home to Louisville. Wins and losses come and go during a college basketball team, but UConn trailed by as many as 21 to an undermanned Houston team that is 11-9 and 3-4 in the American Athletic Conference.
UConn, 16-4 overall, is still trying to figure it out. Every other game has an explanation but the loss to Houston, which is weighing down the Huskies in the RPI as Houston is ranked 169 overall.
"They were a good team that played great on their home court," coach Kevin Ollie told reporters Wednesday. "It happens. But we never didn't respect them. We didn't come out with intensity sand they ran the ball We weren't disciplined in defensive sets and they took advantage."
The Huskies have won 5 of 6, the lone loss being to Louisville at home and will entertain Houston tonight at 9 p.m. at Gampel. UConn is 0-3 in 9 p.m. games this year, but will have an edge to erase that Houston loss that spoiled the New Year.
Tashawn Thomas leads the Cougars at 16.5 points per game and the Huskies allowed him to go for 23 in the first game. The Huskies also did a poor job on the fastbreak allowing 15 points on the break and 36 points in the paint.
The Huskies are riding Shabazz Napier, who is on a hot streak after being named AAC Player of the week again.
Napier leads the Huskies averaging 17.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. He's scored 30, 27 and 26 over the last three games and has eight games over 20 points this season.
"He is taking it to the rim and getting to the free-throw line and shooting it a high clip on the 33-point line," Ollie said. "He's attacking. I can isolate him on pick-and-rolls. I put him on the ball, (Rutgers coach) Eddie Jordan did a good job start doubling then we took him off the ball and ran him off screens. We can isolate him. He gives me a luxury because he can do those things with or without the basketball."
The Huskies do have question marks as DeAndre Daniels will be a game-time decision due to an ankle. If he can't go. Niels Giffey will likely start with a healthy dose of the big front line with possibly Tyler Olander, Phil Nolan and even Kentan Facey getting time at the 4.