HARTFORD – Okay, the big night is here. Louisville is in the building, and ranked No.1 and the Huskies are here to try to knock them off.
Checking in from XL Center. Start time is 30 minutes away, the UConn Pep Band is filling the arena with sound.
You know it’s a big game, lot of media here, national, New York media, you name it. And I’ve done three radio interviews in the last 90 minutes, two with Louisville stations and one with The Bower Show here in Connecticut, so my voice is hoarse as Kevin Ollie’s after a long practice.
The Cardinals are indeed No.1 in the latest AP Poll, UConn fell a little short of the Top 25.
Shabazz Napier, who had 35 points and 13 rebounds in the two wins last week, made the Big East Honor Roll again.
I was told about 6 p.m. that there were “still a couple of thousand” seats unsold, so it looks like it won’t be a sell-out, but I would expect a big, loud crowd. This is UConn’s championship game, in a sense – a large sense.
Amida Brimah, UConn’s new commit, is here, seated behind UConn’s bench. UConn officials have asked us not to interview him since, by NCAA rules, the school is responsible for keeping the media away from recruits who have not yet signed. Seated next to Brimah is Pascal Chidiebere-Chukwu, the 7-1 junior from Fairfield Prep. Kevin Ollie went to see him play at Notre Dame-West Haven (my alma mater) on Jan. 4.
The Cardinals left Louisville about noon and landed in Hartford about 2 p.m., so it’s really show-up-and-play for them. Flying takes a lot out of you, so we’ll see if fatigue is a factor.
Oh, and did I mention Karl Hess is on the refereeing crew? … So soon after what happened at Marquette, wow.
UConn sticks with the same lineup – Tyler Olander, DeAndre Daniels, Omar Calhoun, Ryan Boatright, Shabazz Napier. … I have a hunch we’ll see a lot of Enosch Wolf tonight.