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Preview: Harvard at Connecticut

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Connecticut looks to rebound from a difficult start to American Athletic Association play when it hosts streaking Harvard in a challenging non-conference finale Wednesday. The Huskies, one of the few teams given a chance to challenge defending national champion Louisville in the newly formed AAC, dropped their first two league games in the state of Texas. The setbacks at Houston and Southern Methodist knocked Connecticut from the national rankings.

The Huskies won 54 straight home games against non-conference opponents before falling to Stanford last month. Harvard has every opportunity to prevent another streak from building, having won nine straight for just the fourth time in school history after a 69-54 victory at Rice on Saturday. Wesley Saunders scored 18 points as the Crimson improved upon the best start under coach Tommy Amaker and the program's finest beginning since it opened 19-1 in 1945-46.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU

ABOUT HARVARD (13-1): The Crimson's lone loss was at No. 17 Colorado on Nov. 24 in a game that saw Amaker's team lead by as many as 14 points in the second half. That also stands as one of just three games in which a Harvard opponent managed to reach 70 points as the Crimson ranks among the top scoring defenses in the nation at 61.6 points allowed per game. They also have received a recent boost in the return to form of senior co-captain Brandyn Curry, who scored 16 points in 19 minutes against Rice, his third game back from an Achilles injury.

ABOUT CONNECTICUT (11-3): The Huskies showed signs early in the season that they might struggle to score points once conference play rolled around and the competition intensified. Connecticut averaged 64.8 points in five games against major conference opponents prior to AAC play, and shot 39 percent in the two league games, last in the conference. Leading scorer Shabazz Napier was 2-for-9 en route to 12 points - four below his average - against SMU.

TIP-INS

1. Huskies F DeAndre Daniels scored 23 points - at the time a career high - in a 57-49 victory over Harvard last season.

2. Crimson PG Siyani Chambers, the Ivy League leader in assists (5.1), has committed only nine turnovers in 187 minutes of action over his last five games.

3. Connecticut owns a 16-2 series lead, winning at home each of the past four seasons.

PREDICTION: Connecticut 71, Harvard 68

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140108/preview-harvard-at-connecticut