WEDNESDAY- It’s hard to believe it’s been almost nine years since UConn and Boston College met on the basketball floor. But the two New England schools hook up tomorrow night (Thursday) at Madison Square Garden in the semifinals of the 2K Classic. To say it’s been highly anticipated would be an understatement even though I am sure 99.9% of the participants have no idea about the history, nor should they.
And truthfully, the game has nothing to do with hard feelings about BC jumping the Big East in 2005 for the ACC or Gene DiFilippo boasting that he helped keep UConn out of the ACC two years ago. It’s about a nationally ranked team (UConn), taking on an up and coming team (BC) in an early season matchup that will help both teams.
The Huskies win over Boston University was the second time in four games that UConn couldn’t hold onto a big first half lead. But just like against Maryland, UConn found a way to win. And they did it pulling away, unlike the opener when they held on at the finish. DeAndre Daniels played like the player who was dominant in the first four games of last season. Aggressive and confident at the offensive end, DeAndre has to play like that all season long. He can’t drift in games and his teammates have to make sure he gets the ball in positions where he can produce. And the way Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright are sharing the ball that should continue to happen.
As frequent SportsTalk guest Mike DeCourcy from SportingNews.com pointed out, Napier and Boatright are 1-2 in scoring, rebounds and assists. I’m guessing there aren’t many schools where that is the scenario. And with Daniels breakout game, the Huskies now have five players averaging double digit scoring. That might be impossible to continue all season long but, it shows the depth on this team.
Boston College is 1-3 this year with the win coming on Sunday night against Florida Atlantic,coached by Mike Jarvis. Steve Donahue’s team brings back everybody from a year ago, includuing ACC Freshman of the Year Olivier Hanlan who is a scoring machine. He tossed in 38 on Sunday and has gone for 41 last season in conference play against Georgia Tech. 6’8 Ryan Anderson is the Eagles second best player and can both score and rebound. One other familiar name for BC is 6’8 Alex Dragicevich who was 1-9 in two games against UConn for Notre Dame during the 11-12 season. The Eagles run a motion offense so staying with it at the defensive end is critical for UConn. BC gives up a lot of points so it is important for UConn to run, run and run some more.
The other half of the bracket is Indiana and Washington.Since UConn plays at Washington just before Christmas, it would be nice if the Huskies renew acquaintances with Tom Crean and the Hoosiers. But the most important thing for the men of Kevin Ollie is to play in the 7 pm game on Friday, since that is the championship contest.
Pre game time from high above courtside at the World’s Most Famous Arena is 6:30 on Thursday Night. If you aren’t going to be there in person, I hope you join us on the radio.