Busting Brackets

UConn Basketball: 3 takeaways from Huskies Big East victory against Xavier

Connecticut v Butler
Connecticut v Butler / Michael Hickey/GettyImages
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3. This team misses Donovan Clingan, but they are making up for it

When it came to the rebounding advantage, the Huskies did not have the luxury of winning that battle. Xavier is a gritty team as well, and they won the rebounding battle with an impressive 42-30 margin. They have a clear missing presence without the big man Clingan down low, but that force is something they will need to be able to survive without.

It is nearly impossible to replace a seven-footer, even if your taller forwards play a bit harder or box out better and fight for more rebounds. However, they are getting that from Cam Spencer, Tristen Newton, and Stephon Castle who all had six rebounds in this matchup against the Musketeers. While come tournament time and during the peak of Big East play, they are definitely going to want to have Clingan back in this lineup for when the going gets a bit harder.

For now, though, this team is picking up the slack as best as they can, but when it comes to rebounding and rim protection, they have a clear weakness right in the middle of the paint that is exploitable by Big East teams with elite big-man play. Oso Ighodaro, Ryan Kalkbrenner, and many others will be glad to not have to face off Clingan when those matchups come along, but it is clear that this team will still be able to win without him, just how long is it sustainable is the question.