The Saturday "blackout" game against the Huskies sold out to the general public Thursday and students ate up the rest of the allotment Friday afternoon. For the majority of the Rutgers roster, it will be their first game in that environment.
"We always talk about it," said junior guard Myles Mack. "Some of the guys haven't been here yet. I just tell them, you just have to be composed and play like there's nobody in the crowd. Don't pay attention to anything else besides what's going on on the court.
"It is [hard], but that's all I can basically tell them. I can't tell them anything else. It's going to be really loud in here. You just have to be composed. That's about it."
Rutgers had 7,263 in the building for the loss to Louisville earlier this months, and expects a higher number and louder group tomorrow night.
"It's a great atmosphere when we play them here," Mack said on facing Connecticut. "We always sell out when they play here. My freshman year when we played them here, we got the win. I'm just looking forward to trying to play hard and get a win again."
Connecticut (15-4, 3-3) and Rutgers (8-11, 2-4) features key matchups in two locations.
The battle begins at guard where Mack is set to face perhaps the best backcourt duo in the conference – Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. The pair averages a combined 29.7 points 9.5 assists and 9.8 boards per game.
"They're two really good guards, two of the best guards in the country," Mack said. "It's going to be a tough one. We just have to go out there and fight for it."
Tipoff also includes a Jordan faceoff with Connecticut head coach Kevin Ollie, who played guard in the NBA during Jordan's tenure as head coach.
"When I first got the Wizards job, Wes Unseld was the GM," Jordan said. "He said we've got a good amount of money here for a free agent. Who would you like to get? I said I'd like to split it up. Let's give half of it to Kevin Ollie. He's a prototypical point guard to help us with Kwame Brown and Jerry Stackhouse.
"We looked into it and Gilbert Arenas popped up, so we gave it all to Gilbert. That's how it happened, but Kevin was my first choice. But Gilbert was a pretty darn good backup."