UConn Basketball Update

Here is Scout.com's update on the UConn men's basketball team. The Huskies' next game is Sat. Dec. 4th at 12 noon (EST) vs. the Big Ten's Indiana Hoosiers. The game will be telecast on the CBS network.

GETTING INSIDE

Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon are drawing hefty paychecks in the NBA, and surely Jim Calhoun regrets that they didn't decide that an additional year in Storrs, Conn., was worth putting the big payday on hold.

Then again, where would he play them if they'd stayed?

Some of the names are different, but it's the same old Huskies through the season's first two games.

Focus on the perimeter, and they pound it inside to the likes of Josh Boone, Hilton Armstrong and Ed Nelson.

Pack the zone in the paint, and Rashad Anderson and Denham Brown will kill you from the outside.

Then, of course, there are the guys like Charlie Villanueva and Rudy Gay who can beat you from either place.

In the team's 99-48 dismantling of Florida International, 10 Huskies played more than 13 minutes, and none played more than 26. Most teams shorten their rotation as the season goes on, but it's difficult to see how Calhoun can do that. Who sits ... superfrosh Rudy Gay? Georgia Tech transfer and inside force Ed Nelson? Rebounding machine Marcus White?

Not a bad problem to have, to be sure.

Another good sign is the development of sophomore point guard Marcus Williams, who had 35 assists in a four-game exhibition tour of England. Freshman Antonio Kellogg has also looked like he can contribute at the point, though neither has faced the caliber of competition they'll see in the coming weeks.

NOTES, QUOTES

Connecticut set a school record for blocked shots with 19 against Florida International. Coach Jim Calhoun said after the game that he planned to make a phone call to former UConn standout and current Charlotte Bobcat Emeka Okafor, telling him that the Huskies had real shot-blockers now that he was gone.

It wasn't all fun and games against FIU, though. Calhoun called a timeout nine seconds into the game, after the Golden Panthers got the opening tip and began the game with a monster dunk. Neither the coach nor any of the players could recall ever seeing a time out called so early in a game before.

PROBABLE LINEUP: Point guard Marcus Williams, shooting guard Rashad Anderson, center Josh Boone, small forward Denham Brown, power forward Charlie Villanueva.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "They do things in games to keep themselves in games. Rashad starts off and they go zone, and it's bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.... Between Denham, Rashad and Josh, we became very tough to play. Pick your poison." -- Coach Jim Calhoun on starters Rashad Anderson, Denham Brown and Josh Boone.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

UPCOMING GAMES: vs. Indiana, Saturday, Dec. 4; vs. Northeastern, Monday, Dec. 6; at Massachusetts, Thursday, Dec. 9.

KEYS: The Huskies can run so many guys at opponents who can score and rebound that it's hard for anyone else to match the depth this team has. Long-term, the big challenge for coach Jim Calhoun will be to keep all those forwards happy with their minutes, and the offense running smoothly despite the constant substitutions.

ROSTER REPORT: UConn took a break in November and jetted off to London for four exhibition games. The Huskies finished 3-1 against British Basketball League teams. Freshman Rudy Gay averaged a team-high 15.5 points, with Denham Brown and Rashad Anderson right behind at 14.5.

Denham Brown sat out the second half of the victory over Florida International with a twisted ankle. It's not expected to sideline him further.


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