Struggling UConn visits No. 22 Wichita State
It hasn't been a typical season for Connecticut. The Huskies have struggled to stay above .500 and are now dealing with an NCAA inquiry.
UConn will try to stay focused on the court when it travels to take on No. 22 Wichita State on Saturday in an American Athletic Conference rematch.
The NCAA inquiry into the program's recruiting was made public in late January. UConn athletic director David Benedict says the university is fully cooperating.
"We're going to fight to protect our university brand," Benedict told the Hartford Courant this week. "We're going to fight to protect our men's basketball program, because we believe that we have been doing all of those (proper) things and we're very committed to compliance."
In the meantime, the Huskies (12-12, 5-6 AAC), continue what has been a disappointing season by UConn standards. The Huskies snapped a three-game losing streak with a hard-fought 68-65 win over South Florida on Wednesday.
"I'm not going to apologize for a win," UConn coach Kevin Ollie told reporters afterward. "I'm going to take a win, but we didn't win the right way, not the UConn way and we have to do a better job."
The Shockers will be a tougher challenge for the Huskies, who are 1-6 on the road and 0-5 against ranked teams this season. But Wichita State has had its own issues with consistency.
Since getting off to a 5-0 start to their first season in the American, the Shockers are just 3-3 in their last six games. They are coming off an 85-65 rout of Memphis on Tuesday. Austin Reaves led the Shockers with 22 points and Landry Shamet added 20 points. Shamet leads Wichita State in points (14.7) and assists (5.3).
Reaves has been red-hot, scoring 20 or more points in his last three games and helping Wichita State endure senior guard Conner Frankamp's shooting slump. Frankamp missed all five of his shots against Memphis and has made only two of his last 16 3-pointers over the last five games.
"Conner is just off a little bit," Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said after the game against Memphis. "He'll shoot himself out of it. We have 10 starters. I don't worry about who starts. Whoever plays well, it's my responsibility to keep them in the game."
Marshall is looking for 150th career win at Charles Koch Arena, where the Shockers have lost only once this season.
Wichita State (18-5, 8-3) won at UConn 72-62 on Dec. 30. The game was tight midway through the second half, before Wichita State used a 15-6 run to distance itself from the Huskies. Terry Larrier and Jalen Adams each scored 18 points, but UConn went just 3 of 16 from 3-point range in the loss.
Adams leads the Huskies in scoring (17.7) and assists (4.2).
Wichita State trails first-place Cincinnati by three games in the AAC standings. The Shockers and Bearcats will meet twice in the final three weeks of the regular season, starting with a Feb. 18 showdown at Cincinnati.
Updated February 9, 2018