clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2011 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: Connecticut Preview

The Sweet 16 kicks off tonight with possibly the best matchup in the NCAA Tournament. In the only matchup of top ten teams of the Sweet 16, the Connecticut Huskies battle the San Diego State Aztecs today from Honda Center in Anaheim.Tonight's 4:15 p.m. PDT game will be televised by CBS, with Verne Lundquist, Bill Raftery, and Leslie Visser on the call.

The No. 3 seed Huskies are on a roll. After losing the final two games of their regular season, UConn blasted through the Big East tournament with five wins in five nights, then picked up two rather easy wins in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. UConn beat No. 14 Bucknell 81-52, then beat No. 6 Cincinnati 69-58 in Washington DC, to advance to the 16th Sweet 16 in school history.

UConn is led by All-American Kemba Walker, who averaged 23.6 points and 4.5 assists this season. Walker has picked up his play in the postseason, averaging 25.9 points in the Big East Tournament and NCAA Tournament combined. Walker has scored 51 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and dished out 17 assists in UConn's first two games of the tournament.

However, UConn also has size down low in Alex Oriakhi. The sophomore forward averaged 9.8 points and 8.7 rebounds this season, and has 23 rebounds in the first two games of the NCAA Tournament. Facing the No. 2 seed Aztecs, the Huskies are the underdog, but Oriakhi likes that role. "I think we're the underdog and that's the role we kinda like," Oriakhi said on Wednesday, "We kinda like being the underdog and people are probably going to say we're the underdog because we're a lower seed and a young team but we thrive off of that and we use it to our advantage by playing harder."

More March Madness resources: updated printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket ... Sweet 16 bracket and game times ... complete NCAA Tournament coverage...for more UConn news and information, be sure to read The UConn Blog.