Preview: UConn men's basketball back in action at #24 Seton Hall

UConn men’s basketball is finally back Saturday after a COVID outbreak cost the Huskies a total of 17 days. UConn will be on the road Saturday as they travel to Newark, NJ to take on the Seton Hall Pirates. This is only the second Big East game of the season for UConn, and they’ll be playing it with a limited roster as some players still try and get back from health and safety protocols.

Connecticut's Isaiah Whaley, right, bumps chests with teammate Andre Jackson in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Providence, Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

WHEN: Saturday, Jan. 8th, 12 p.m. ET

WHERE: Prudential Center – Newark, New Jersey


ODDS: UConn +3.5, over/under 138.5


After the Omicron Variant ravaged both Seton Hall and UConn, the two teams are back in action Saturday in a game where UConn fans won’t even know who’s active until the day of. As of right now, the only players who are confirmed in are RJ Cole and Tyrese Martin.

Seton Hall, who has numerous unvaccinated players was one of the first programs to be affected by this new variant; being forced to cancel a game VS Iona and forfeit a game VS DePaul [The Big East has since changed their rules on covid cancellations].

Since returning from their COVID break Seton Hall is 1-2, with a 70-65 loss to Providence, and a loss to Villanova at home being their two blemishes. They followed that up with an impressive 71-65 victory over Butler, however. With the Pirates being back to full strength expect a tough test for coach Dan Hurley and his team.

For fans of outside scoring, don’t expect a lot of it this game. UConn is only hitting roughly 33% of their threes and Seton Hall is one of best the perimeter defensive teams in the nation. Opponents are shooting a mere 25.9 percent from deep against the Pirates this season. And on the other side of this, they severely struggle from deep shooting 29 percent, ranking 302nd in the country. So, it’s safe to assume this game will run through Adama Sanogo assuming he can play. The Huskies big man suffered a hamstring injury VS Marquette and has been limited in practice since. Regardless, whoever is starting at center will be matched up with Ike Obiagu, the leader in blocks for the Big East last season [and probably this season as well]. The X-factor for UConn will definitely be Tyrese Martin; the senior is averaging 15.4 points on 52% shooting to go along with 7.2 rebounds per game. the Huskies will have to depend on the do it all guard if they want to go into enemy territory and beat a good Seton Hall squad, especially if Sango’s’ hamstring begins to act up again.

Joshua Bickel-USA TODAY Sports

As for the Pirates, its’ no surprise that this offense runs through their senior backcourt of Jared Rhoden and Bryce Aiken. Rhoden has been the team’s best offensive weapon and one of the better players in the Big East averaging 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. While these two aren’t the only contributors for this team, shutting them down will almost certainly equal victory for the Huskies.

While UConn may not be 100% entering Saturday, coming of seventeen days’ rest, controlling the glass and forcing the Pirates to hit jump shots is the recipe for a UConn Huskies victory.

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