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Recon: Connecticut

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Whether you are in the trucking business or the college basketballin’ bizness, quick turnarounds are part ofe of the game. With an uninspired 65-57 victory over Charleston, the UConn Huskies now have the pleasure of matching up with the Gem City Cagers. Dayton gets the matchup they wanted, a chance to make a statement early in the season.

A win over UConn will not only put another quality notch in UD’s bedpost, it sets up the possibility of a dream faceoff with Juwan Staten and West Virginia. There are Sweaters and Priders that foam at the mouth with the mere whisper of Staten’s name. A finals appearance against West Virginia will turn UD Pride into a less sophisticated version of Stormfront (which, when you think about it…)

This must happen.










[/fullwidth_section] [spacer height=”15″] [title type=”special-h3″ color=””]Beleaguered Expectations[/title]

ncaa-kentucky-uconn-final-basketballAs most of you probably know, the Huskies are coming off another national title season. After being banned from the Big East and NCAA tournaments  in 2013 due to continued low APR scores, (Jim Calhoun, ladies and gentlemen!), UConn regrouped, reloaded and captured the school’s fourth national championship last April. 

The 2014 Huskies were a reminder that the NCAA Tournament doesn’t necessarily crown the nation’s best or most-deserving team, it simply rewards the squad that can play consistently and avoid pitfalls over a six-game span. UConn was a missed Halil Kanacevic rebound away from losing to Saint Joseph’s in the first round of the tournament. The Huskies, a seven seed, got hot after that wakeup call from the Hawks and marched all the way to the national title.

It should be noted that Connecticut matched up with Kentucky in the championship game. The Wildcats, an eight seed, were similar to UConn in the sense that they underperformed all season yet still managed to roll off five (very close) victories, putting themselves just forty minutes away from cutting down the nets. 

I think this is where college basketball, for better or for worse, is headed. You will always have programs like Dayton and Kent State, teams that’ll ride some luck and good matchups in order to sneak into the Elite Eight every now and then. There, of course, will continue to be programs like this year’s Kentucky, who seemingly have a lock on a Final Four appearance in early November and actually follow through on that expectation come March. However, I’m speculating that teams like last year’s UConn, blue-bloods that struggle in the regular season, will become the norm as far as Final Four appearances are concerned. Much was made of the fact that an eight and seven seed played for it all last year, in fact it was the first time a seven seed won the title, and many observers believed it was simply an outlying event. I say fuck those non-believers, with parity reigning supreme it is merely a matter of time before an eleventh seeded Missouri or Georgetown Arizona State plays for the national title. 

The days of the mid-major darling has passed, it’s the dawn of the high-major underachiever.[ref]I reserved the right to be completely wrong about this.[/ref] 

[spacer height=”25″] [title type=”special-h3″ color=””]Overview[/title]

The 2014-15 Huskies opened up the season as the seventeenth ranked team in the nation, picked to finish first in the AAC. UConn is in a bit of a rebuilding mode, as three starters and a total of nine letter-winners, including 2014’s tournament Most Outstanding Player Shabazz Napier, are gone from last year’s crew. The cupboard isn’t completely bare however, as Ollie can rely on one of the top point-guards in the nation, an impact transfer and a blue-chip freshman. It seems rather obvious that the Connecticut Dayton faces tomorrow will be much different than the one taking the court in late February. At least that’s the hope for Flyer Fanz. Take down UConn before they gel and expect that they become a signature win come Selection Sunday.

The first thing you notice about Connecticut is their almost criminal lack of depth. The Huskies are legitimately eight deep, with a rotation of seven players racking up most of the minutes. UConn will not overwhelm anyone with their offensive firepower, instead relying on pressure defense and a committed pursuit of rebounds. The Huskies are the type of team that traditionally gives UD fits, they are long, athletic and alter shots. 

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Ryan Boatright • G (6’2″/175) • Sr.
21.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.7 a/to

Ryan Boatright drawing a “SH” on his cheek as a tribute to the Sandy Hook tragedy (hoax) is one of the more bizarre things in sports that didn’t get enough attention. The team’s lone senior, Boatright does just about everything for UConn, he is almost impossible to keep in front of.

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Amida Brimah • C (7’0″/230) • So.
13.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.0 bpg

Not only does Brimah look like a young Dikembe Mutombo, he plays like him as well. A shot-blocking extraordinaire, Brimah was an AAC Rookie Team selecton. Brimah has limited range and often falls prey to foul trouble.  

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Daniel Hamilton • G/F (6’7″/190) • Fr.
12.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 57% 3fg

One of the top incoming freshman in the nation, Hamilton can play multiple positions. His height allows him to get good looks from the perimeter, and causes matchup issues against guards.

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Rodney Purvis • G (6’4″/205) • So.
9.0 ppg, 2.0 apg

After a fallout with former NC State coach Mark Gottfried, Purvis transferred to UConn in search of a better suited system. Purvis, a former McDonald’s All-American, is built like a linebacker and has range with his shot.

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Kentan Facey • F (6’9″/206) • So.
3.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg

Jamaican dude, can run and jump, which is kind of their thing.

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Terrence Samuel • G (6’4″/202) • So.
5.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg

Samuel is UConn’s best on-ball defender, doesn’t add that much offensively.

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Sam Cassell, Jr. • G (6’4″/192) • So.
6.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Cassell probably doesn’t go a day without hearing that his father is as ugly as a hatful of assholes. This makes him endearing.

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Phillip Nolan • F (6’10″/237) • Jr.
10 mpg, literally has done nothing

In twenty minutes of play this season, Nolan has missed one shot and, at six foot ten, failed to grab one single rebound. Astounding.

[/column] [/row] [fullwidth_section text_color=”dark” background_type=”color” bg_color=”#C4D8E2″] [spacer height=”15″] [title type=”special-h3″ color=””]Prediction[/title]

Execution_of_POW_by_Japanese_Naval_ForcesTexas A&M poses some of the same issues that UConn likely will. The Huskies will undoubtedly outrebound UD and cause the Flyers problems on the offensive side of the court.

Connecticut is a mediocre offensive team, which may be enough to ensure this is a tight ballgame. Dayton has to try and keep the ball out of Boatright’s hands as much as possible, an objective Kyle Davis will be tasked with. 

It will be a back-and-forth game, no different from the one this morning, with the game likely in doubt until the final minutes of the contest.

UConn wins a close one, the Huskies size will be too much for UD, 61-57. Ryan Boatright seals the game up from the foul-line. I’ve been wrong before, let’s hope I’m wrong again. 







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