UConn will take on first place Southern Methodist University at 2 p.m. on CBS.
The week of reckoning is at hand for the UConn men's basketball team.
UConn hosts SMU, a team that it is 0-3 against including a 70-55 blowout loss earlier this season, on Sunday at the XL Center. SMU is the best team in the American, 23-5 ,and after last season's shocking snub of the NCAAs, firmly in the tournament this year.
UConn is 16-11 9-6 in conference with three games left and an RPI of 76. That's not going to get it done for the NCAAs.
But the schedule affords an opportunity for the Huskies to get back on the NCAA bubble. SMU Sunday, Memphis on Thursday and at Temple to close out the season on the weekend.
All three teams are above the Huskies in the standings. A win against all three would put the Huskies on the bubble heading into the American Athletic Conference tournament. At minimum, three wins would get the Huskies bye in the first round of the AAC tournament. That would make a run in the tournament one game easier.
“We need a win,” coach Kevin Ollie said Saturday via the New Haven Register. “If it was South Florida, SMU, if it was — who’s No. 1? — Kentucky. If it was Kentucky, we need a win. Whoever we face — if a YMCA team came up to play at the XL, we’d need a win. We need to win these next three. You can’t win three if you don’t win the first one. We’re gonna try to win the first one.”
SMU has owned UConn in their three meetings since becoming conference mates as Larry Brown's defense first and athletic team has given the Huskies fits. The Huskies trailed by as many as 28 in their first game against SMU in Dallas.
The Mustangs are led by 5-foot-9 guard Nic Moore, who is averaging 14.6 points per game. Moore and UConn's Ryan Boatright are the two leading candidates for conference player of the year. The Huskies struggle with SMU's length and center Yanick Moreira -- 11.5 ppg. -- is a big concern.
UConn has become more diverse of late with Daniel Hamilton -- leading the conference in rebounding -- and Rodney Purvis becoming much more potent offensive options. Center Amida Brimah is also averaging in double figures with 10.6 points.
2014-15 Men's Basketball Standings