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UConn Preview

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UConn basketball is one of those solid basketball teams that's always good.  Jim Calhoun, in his 22nd year as head coach, has led UConn to a pair of titles.  Even when the Huskies aren't Final Four-bound, they're bound to be very good.

Right now, the Huskies are 3-0 and ranked thirteenth in the country, but their three victories, all over typical early-season mid-majors, have been less than stellar.

UConn 75 William & Mary 66

UConn 77 Colgate 63

UConn 76 Hofstra 67

Although no margin of victory is larger than 14, keep in mind no margin of victory is less than 9 either, which implies that they've been able to pull it out without too much trouble.

Trent Johnson expects the Huskies to bring a better game with them to New York.  "Knowing Calhoun like I know him, I don't think he's very pleased with the way they've been playing, so we'll get a maximum effort", Coach Johnson said.

Hasheem Thabeet is a huge loss for the Huskies, literally and figuratively.  The 7-4 monster took his absurd size to the Memphis Grizzlies.  Replacing him at center is Alex Oriakhi, a freshman and one of last year's top basketball prospects.  Oriakhi is not especially tall (6-9) but at 245 lbs, he's big.  Oriakhi has been UConn's main rebounder at this point, and we could be in trouble if Storm and Dennis can't match his power.

Oriakhi is paired in the paint with Gavin Edwards.  Edwards, a senior, is averaging 10 points a game, and we'll definitely have to keep him in mind.

Kemba Walker plays point guard, and he averages 14.7 points per game.

The big name for UConn this year is forward Stanley Robinson.  Robinson is averaging 16.7 points per game.

The shooting guard is Jerome Dyson.  Dyson is averaging 20 points a game this year to go along with 6 assists per game.  He has shown that he can get hot when his team needs him.  Dyson scored 15 points in the last 7:11 against Hofstra to win the game.  It will take a great defensive game from Bo Spencer if we want him to stay cool.

Looking at the stats, I can't help but think UConn just isn't in rhythm right now.  They're not getting a lot of rebounds, probably because they're missing a presence like Thabeet in the paint.  LSU has rebounded very well this year, and if the Tigers out-rebound the Huskies, it would help us tremendously.

X Factors:

Tasmin Mitchell.  He's been somewhat cold this season.  If he heats up tomorrow, we've got a shot.

Garrett Green, Aaron Dotson, Eddie Ludwig and Zach Kinsley.  Our reserves need to play well during their minutes, or UConn could beat us with bench points.

Once again, getting here is already a big accomplishment for Trent and his Tigers.  Unfortunately, Dickie V won't be calling the game, but Bobby Knight is, and it will be interesting to hear what he thinks about the Tigers.

NIT Season Tip-Off, Semifinal

LSU vs. UConn

Madison Square Garden, NYC.

Tomorrow, 6PM CT

ESPN2HD (National)

Announcers: Dan Shulman, Bob Knight, Doris Burke