UConn-Tennessee Preview

UConn-Tennessee Preview

Published Jan. 19, 2012 10:58 p.m. ET

Jim Calhoun wasn't happy with Connecticut's latest effort.

Tennessee's recent performances may give the coach confidence the No. 13 Huskies can bounce back.

UConn will try to capitalize on the struggling Volunteers as it visits Knoxville for the first time Saturday in this midseason non-conference matchup.

The Huskies (14-4) saw their 10-game home winning streak halted when they allowed a 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left in a 70-67 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday.


The performance infuriated Calhoun, who wasn't happy his team allowed 11 3s and let the Bearcats go on a 10-0 run immediately after UConn took a 57-55 lead.

"I couldn't be more disappointed in some of the guys on our team," Calhoun said. "We had enough people, whether I got on them or didn't get on them, they deserved me to get on them, as far as their total package what they gave us in the game. Both defensively and offensively. They weren't very good."

One player who has drawn Calhoun's ire is Jeremy Lamb, Connecticut's leading scorer with 17.7 points per game. The sophomore swingman has been held below his season average in three of the last four games, a stretch in which he's shooting 42.9 percent after making 51.6 percent of his shots through his first 14 contests.

He's 3 for 19 from 3-point range in his last four after going 1 for 5 Wednesday.

"He's the guy we want to go to," Calhoun said. "He wasn't very good on either end of the floor. He's a very, very good basketball player, and he's got play better than that for us to be good."

Shabazz Napier, on the other hand, is looking to build on a pair of strong performances after going scoreless in a 64-57 win over West Virginia on Jan. 9. The sophomore guard has totaled 43 points and 12 assists in two games since, including a career-high 27 points Wednesday.

Napier, though, struggled against Tennessee (8-10) on Jan. 22, 2011, missing 5 of 6 shots and committing three turnovers. Lamb and Kemba Walker finished with 16 points apiece, however, in a 72-61 victory.

The Volunteers are dealing with their own issues, and are on the brink of matching a season-high four-game slide from Nov. 28-Dec. 14.

They're coming off one of their worst performances of the season, falling 57-53 in overtime at Georgia on Wednesday while committing a season-high 20 turnovers and missing 13 of 15 3-point attempts. Despite the Bulldogs shooting 34.9 percent, Tennessee was unable to recover after losses to then-No. 20 Mississippi State on Jan. 12 and No. 2 Kentucky last Saturday.

Coach Cuonzo Martin felt the turnovers played a major role.

"We've got to take care of the ball and give ourselves a chance," Martin said. "With so many unforced turnovers, it was hard to compete at the level we wanted to, especially considering how we played defensively."

Sophomore guard Trae Golden was a rare bright spot for the Vols, scoring 16 points after being limited to two in the 65-62 loss to Kentucky.

He leads Tennessee with 14.3 points per game.

Forward Jeronne Maymon has hit 59.4 percent of his shots over the last four games, averaging 13.0 points and 7.3 rebounds.