Opponent: The University of Connecticut Huskies / Est. 1881 / Storrs, CT / Enrollment(UG) 29,000 / BIG EAST / Ranking: #19
All-time Series: Friars 26 | Huskies 41
Location: The Dunkin’ Donuts Center (12,500) Providence, RI
Date: Wednesday January, 27
Coverage: TV- Cox (New England), SNY (Tri-State Area) | Radio- 103.7 FM Providence | Internet- ESPN 360
What you should know about UConn: UConn enters tonight’s contest with a 13-6 record overall and at 3-3 in the BIG EAST. Once again they will be without Head Coach Jim Calhoun who has left the team for medical reasons. In his place will be Associate Head Coach George Blaney. Blaney is 2-0 with the team so far including a very big win over then top rated Texas. The Huskies had been on a skid in the BIG EAST, but are coming into the game against the Friars on a hot streak. They are led by senior Jerome Dyson. Dyson is averaging just under 20 points a game and takes the majority of the shots for the Huskies. He will slash and shoot, and has a very quick first step and will finish at the rim, but he will also spot up and hit the three. Dyson’s main support comes from Stanley Robinson and Kemba Walker. Robinson is a superior athlete with great height and length. He is versatile in that he will play you inside and out. Sometimes he has trouble finishing, but at 6’9″ and super athletic he is hard to defend. Walker is not very tall but is as fast as they come. He is a smart player with great ball handling skills whose offensive production is getting to the rim. He finishes with both hands and is fearless on drives. There are some other supporters, such as Gavin Edwards, Alex Oriakhi, and one-time refugee Ater Majok. Majok has yet to break out in the BIG EAST, but he has only had a few games of college experience. Despite the size of the Huskies one weakness to watch for is their trouble on the defensive and offensive glass. They have a bit of a knack for given up a lot of boards so far this season.
PFB Perspective: This could be a long game. For a while we were thinking UConn was in the midst of an off year, similar to that they had back about three years ago, but their win over Texas was a statement. They are a good team. They don’t always play like it, but they have unbelievable talent throughout their team. Dyson, Walker, and Robinson are some of the best players in the league, and when they are all playing their game they are very difficult to stop.
Coming off of that terrible, shameful loss to USF we aren’t even sure what we are looking for in this game. Obviously a win would be great, but especially after Saturday night we are going to be realistic. What we would like to see is inspired basketball. What does that mean? That means win or lose, down by 30 or up by 10, we want to see players playing with effort that we have not seen yet. That means hitting the boards like never before, beating UConn on every hustle play, not taking a single play off, and most importantly an intensity on defense unlike anything we have seen from our guys this year. Wishful thinking… probably yes. But after coming off of such a terrible loss you hope to see some fight, some reaction from your team. What we will get, we don’t know. This could easily be a game where we get down early and are out of it from the start.
The game against USF was a weak crowd, maybe because it was a later start to the game, maybe just because it was USF, but we think the Dunk will have a better showing with UConn in the house. They are a big name team and our BIG EAST/New England Rival.
If there are any keys to victory tonight they would be: 1. DEFENSE- we have learned the hard way that in the BIG EAST, the idea that you are going to play summer rec league style and just try and outscore your opponent isn’t going to work. We need defensive intensity for 40 minutes. 2. REBOUNDING- for much of the season we have been a good rebounding team, and UConn despite their size has had some struggles. If we can get second and third shot opportunities and limit the Huskies to one shot each time down the floor we might be able to stay in this thing. 3. SHOOTING- as always we aren’t much without our shooting. We need good shot selection, and we need our perimeter game to be there. Without it we become very limited.
Of course we need to protect the ball and make our free throws as well… especially if for some reason we should be up by 9 with 43 seconds to go.
The Infamous “Why We Hate UCONN” Post – If you only read one link… it should probably be this one
UConn Huskies Basketball Blog