Busting Brackets

UConn vs Kansas: 2023-24 college basketball game preview, TV schedule

Kansas senior center Hunter Dickinson (1) reacts after sinking a three in the first half of Monday's game against North Carolina Central inside Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas senior center Hunter Dickinson (1) reacts after sinking a three in the first half of Monday's game against North Carolina Central inside Allen Fieldhouse. /

UCONN and Kansas headline one of the top games of the early season on Friday night as two top 5 teams look to put the rest of the country on notice. 

TV schedule: Friday, November 31st, 9:00 pm ET, ESPN2

Arena: Allen Fieldhouse, Lawrence, Kansas

On Friday night two of the nations best will go to battle in one of the loudest arenas in the country, Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas’ home court advantage has been nothing short of impossible to overcome under Bill Self, as they are 292-16 during his tenure (they’ve also been really good for the most part), but UCONN is looking to show that they are primed to repeat as champions. UCONN hasn’t lost a non Big East game since the 2021-2022 season, so we have an ‘immovable object vs. unstoppable force’ situation on our hands. Both of these teams are elite on both sides of the ball, so let’s take a look.

UCONN currently boasts the 6th best offense in the country and the 10th best defense, according to KenPom. They are deep and talented, but they haven’t really been tested yet. They dominated an Indiana team that has high hopes for the season and were able to defeat a short-handed Texas squad that they kept at arms-length throughout. Donavan Clingan is a force down low (15 ppg), and we will get to see an elite matchup between he and Dickinson all night long.

Cam Spencer, a transfer from Rutgers, has led the scoring for UCONN early on (16.3 ppg), and returners Tristan Newton (15.6 ppg) and Alex Karaban (14.6 ppg) make life difficult for any team trying to slow the Huskies down. Stephon Castle is still battling a knee injury, and it is unknown when he will be able to return to action.

Kansas has been okay offensively to start the year, but their true calling card has been their defense. They are, however, still finding their groove as a unit. They were able to outlast an undersized Kentucky team as well as Tennessee in the Maui Invitational, but were defeated handily by Marquette. Hunter Dickinson has been there go-to guy on offense, scoring 21.7 ppg, while also anchoring the defense and deterring those who take it to the rim. Kevin McCullar Jr. adds 18.1 ppg and K.J. Adams rounds out the double figure scoring with 10.9ppg.

The players to watch in this one are Dajuan Harris Jr. and Elmarko Jackson. Dickinson and McCullar are going to score, but they’re going to need others to step up if they want to win this game. Harris runs this offense, and he’s shown he can score as he poured in 23 against Kentucky, but his highest point total aside from that has been 7 against Chaminade. Jackson was a top 30 recruit who has failed to reach double digits even once so far this year. If Kansas wants to keep pace and win this game, they’re going to need to step up.

This game is a must watch, and Allen Fieldhouse is going to be absolutely rocking as people have already started to show up and camp out. I believe UCONN has the better team; they are deeper, have more scoring options, and have the size that can neutralize Dickinson. The only issue is Allen Fieldhouse gives the Jayhawks super human powers most of the time while intimidating opponents.

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Because of their early season battles with some of the other top teams in the nation, I think Kansas will come into this game slightly more prepared than UCONN, and will end their non Big East unbeaten streak.

Prediction: Kansas 78, Uconn 75