BUFFALO, N.Y. – The Huskies just jogged finished their warm-ups and jogged off the court, the start of their game against St. Joseph’s about 15 minutes away now.
Let’s set the scene at First Niagara Arena, as the UConn Pep Band did the national anthem honors. The building is about half full at the moment.
It has already been an exciting day of tournament action here, with Dayton upsetting “big brother” Ohio State in the first game. Kind of game that has made the tournament, and the first round, the unofficial national holiday that it is.
Vee Sanford’s layup with 3.8 seconds left won it for the Flyers, 60-59.
“It’s amazing the way that, defense has kind of been my thing, and it’s amazing how it’s going to end with a kid getting the game winner on me,” said Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, who was devastated. “Obviously, I think I knew he wanted to go right. There’s so many things that are going through my mind right now that I wish could have gone differently, but they didn’t. He made a big shot, made a big time play, and we couldn’t come back.”
Syracuse cruised in the other game, beating Western Michigan by 25.
So here we are, UConn vs. St. Joe’s, the Huskies back where it started in 2004, with wins here against Vermont and DePaul.
The Huskies starting lineup is the same as it was for all three games at the American Athletic Conference Tournament: Phil Nolan, Niels Giffey, DeAndre Daniels, Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright.
Amida Brimah, Lasan Kromah come off the bench.
Starters for St. Joe’s are as expected – Langston Galloway, Ron Roberts Jr. Halil Kanacevic, Chris Wilson and DeAndre Bembry.
Your referees for the night are Antinio Petty, Jeffrey Anderson, Gary Maxwell.
The St. Joe’s Hawk has VIP status, we hear. We also hear he flaps non-stop during games. We’ll be on the lookout for that.
Maybe the Huskies got a break in being seeded seventh. As a No. 5, they might have drawn Harvard – with Wesley Saunders this time – and met Cincinnati’s fate. Anyway, the Huskies will have a tough matchup here. The Hawks beat Dayton three times this season.
“I expect nothing less from our league that to continue to advance,” said Dayton coach Archie Miller.
St. Joe’s is turnover prone, keep that in mind tonight.
Okay, let’s settle in and watch game game. Jeff Jacobs is to might right. Follow us (@AmoreCourant and @JacobsCourant) on twitter as we go along.