UConn Vs. Cincy: Setting The Scene at XL

by Categorized: American Athletic Conference, Amida Brimah, AP Top 25, DeAndre Daniels, Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie, Ryan Boatright, Sean Kilpatrick, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, UConn men's basketball
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HARTFORD – Back home in the state capital today, and looking live at the XL Center.

Both teams are out shooting.  The start of the American Athletic Conference game against Cincinnati is about an hour away.

Same lineup for the Huskies: Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels, Lasan Kromah and Amida Brimah.

Your refs for the afternoon: Ted Valentine, Wally Rutecki, Brent Hampton.

Kevin Ollie was out before. His voice was really hoarse Friday, today it’s down to almost a whisper.

Cincinnati has had a week layoff since a tough loss to Louisville at home last Saturday.

“This time of year, players want to play games, they don’t want to practice,” coach Mick Cronin said this week in Cincinnati. “But I like having the week to rest. It probably won’t help us Saturday [against UConn], but I’m thinking about March.”

The Bearcats lightened up early in the week, then ran harder practices to get their conditioning back later in the week.

Lasan Kromah will get the first crack at guarding Sean Kilpatrick.

UConn put out word last night that tickets were still available, so if you’re interested, you can probably walk up and at least get in the arena.

UConn is promoting Napier for All-America status; here’s the pitch.

Had a nice chat with TV play-by-play Mike Patrick, who has done a lot of UConn games for ESPN this year.  Five of the last seven. “I almost felt compelled to let HR at UConn know I’d be missing a game,” he joked.

Looking forward to senior night on Wednesday. This group, including Napier, Tyler Olander and Niels Giffey, have really had an eventful four years at UConn.

The Bearcats are 11th in the AP poll. UConn can probably get itself back in the rankings with a win today.

Here is our advance to the game, and our capsule look at the matchup in this morning’s Courant.

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 A programming note: March is sports-theme month in the Courant’s year-long, 250th birthday celebration. We have a lot of great, historical stories planned, starting with baseball stuff in the Sunday Courant. You’ll want to pick that up.

I have a story coming later in the month on Jim Calhoun’s arrival at UConn and his first game back in 1986. Look for the stories every Sunday in March.

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