DALLAS –We’re an hour or so away from the start of UConn vs. SMU, as brand-new Moody Coliseum opens to the public. Both teams are on the floor shooting.
The placed is decked out in red, with red pom-poms on every seat. Behind the basket, folks have cardboard bricks to wave at UConn foul shooters. The place is sold out and, long-time Dallas sports pundits believe this will be the largest crowd at an SMU basketball game in decades.
The pep band is dressed in throw-back fashion, with red blazers and ties and straw “boater” hats with red bands, kind of a Barbershop Quartet look.
It looks like Tyler Olander will start for UConn, though Kevin Ollie says that will be a game-time decision. Olander played the most of the “committee” of centers at Houston, and was on the floor for much of the Huskies’ big comeback. So one imagines if he does not start, he will get starter minutes.
UPDATE AT 1:50 P.M.: Olander is, indeed starting for the Huskies, along with Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels and Niels Giffey are the other starters.
Jeff Jacobs (@JacobsCourant) is here, too. Stay with us through the afternoon.
The Huskies will wear white today. SMU wants to wear red, and has asked fans to wear red.
UConn AD Warde Manuel arrived and was given a tour of the new facility and he was impressed. Perhaps he was collecting ideas for renovating Gampel one day? The SMU practice facility next door, also very posh, is similar to what UConn is building next to Gampel, though it is connected to the arena by a short hallway. That won’t be the case in Storrs.
Referees today: Tom O’Neill, Rick Crawford, Alfred Smith.