The loss to Southern Methodist was the kind of defeat that rocks a team to its core. The Huskies didn't have any effort issues, and there wasn't a glaring weakness that shown through, rather what happened against the Mustangs in the loss was disturbing.
UConn allowed SMU to take them out of its game, make the Huskies inpatient and make them make poor decisions.
How else do you explain Shabazz Napier's 5 of 16 shooting, five turnover performance?
the Huskies were inpatient, and instead of passing the ball tried to force the issue by taking quick 3-pointers and contested 2s in the lane.
The result? A 29.6 percent shooting percentage.
The Huskies, now 21-6 and 9-5 and out of the AP Top Poll, have to go down to South Florida today and figure it out.
The Bulls aren't having a good year, aren't a good team, but have proven dangerous enough to give UConn pause. There can't be any slipups, and UConn has to hope its shooting woes was a one-time thing, and not a blueprint in how to beat the Huskies.
"You can't shot 29 percent," Coach Kevin Ollie said after Sunday's loss to SMU. "Man. Look at my starters, you can't win like that. We got to play more solid on offense and the defensive end. We have to be a tougher minded team than we were (Sunday)."
The Huskies are currently fifth in the American, which right now means a first round quarterfinal matchup with host Memphis. If the Huskies can move into third? The opponent would be 13-14 Houston as the sixth seed. The difference between the 4/5 game and the 3/6 game is stark.
American Men's Basketball Standings
The Bulls host UConn having lost four straight and are a shell of a team that made the NCAA tournament two years ago. The Huskies waxed USF 83-40 earlier this month, but the Huskies expect a stiffer test this time out. Victor Rudd is the Bulls' top scorer at 15.6 ppg. and the Bulls did beat SMU, which UConn has lost two games to. That alone should make the Huskies worried heading into the Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.
UConn has four games left in the regular season and is still somewhat searching for what it is. The Huskies have improved the defensive rebounding tremendously since the turn of the New Year, but are still waiting on a hot streak. Just when the Huskies get going, the struggle -- especially offensively -- like it did on Sunday at home to SMU.
The Huskies sorely need some more scoring out of people not named Napier or Boatright. DeAndre Daniels has remained inconsistent offensively and Lasan Kromah has cooled off offensively with a 6 of 24 shooting over the past three games. That made the story for today in most outlets about Omar Calhoun, who has had a nightmare season and is shooting under 40 percent from the floor and 25 percent from 3-point range. Calhoun's a scorer, his 11.1 ppg. last year is proof of that, but he's a shell of his former self this season. Getting all that back would go a long way for the Huskies down the stretch.
It's hard to figure the Huskies out. They own a win over Florida, two wins over Memphis and have some great blowout wins. But whenever they needed the game they've fallen short in losses to Louisville, Memphis and SMU.
The Huskies have to take care of business tonight against USF and then need a big game against Cincinnati at the XL Center on Saturday.
Do that, and the Huskies will once again rise in the polls and raise their NCAA seed. If they can't, it's going to be a tough March.