Four top-ten teams, UConn, Arizona, Gonzaga and Michigan State join Kansas, Maryland, Arkansas and host Chaminade comprise perhaps the best field ever for a preseason tournament. The second-ranked UConn Huskies begin their quest for a title on Monday night against the Arkansas Razorbacks.
No. 5 Loser of game No. 1 vs. loser
of game No. 2,
No. 6 Loser of game No. 3 vs. loser
of game No. 4,
No. 7 Winner of game No. 1 vs.
winner of game No. 2,
No. 8 Winner of game No. 3 vs.
winner of game No. 4,
No. 9 Winner of game No. 5 vs.
winner of game No. 6,
No. 10 Loser of game No. 7 vs.
loser of game No. 8,
No. 11 Loser of game No. 5 vs.
loser of game No. 6,
No. 12 Winner of game No. 7 vs.
winner of game No. 8,
A History of
Preseason Stumbles --It has been 50 years since
UConn captured a preseason tournament title that they did not host. The dry
spell encompasses 23 tournaments and dates back to UConn's victory in the 1956
Orange Bowl Classic.
Opponent -- UConn and Arkansas
have only met once previously. UConn scored a 74-64 victory over
Arkansas in the third-place game
of the 1997 National Invitation Tournament.
UConn led 40-30 at the half, but an 8-0
Arkansas run closed the lead to
six points before UConn pulled away behind Richard Hamilton's 19
Reunion --Craig Austrie had played against
Arkansas freshman guard Sean McCurdy previously. McCurdy was briefly on UConn's recruiting radar in the class
Both freshmen will play major roles for their clubs. McCurdy has been
impressive for Arkansas thus far;
in 23 minutes, the freshman scored seven points and handed out six assists
against four turnovers in
Arkansas' season opener against
won its season opener against
Portland 107-69. Ronnie Brewer led
the Razorbacks with 24 points, including three-of-six shooting from beyond the
Club – With his nine points against Pepperdine, Rashad Anderson became the
38th Husky to hit the 1,000 points scored mark. The 39th
member will join him shortly; Denham Brown currently stands at 940 career
Block Party –
UConn led the Big East and the country in blocked shots last season by sending
back 8.9 shots per contest.
Arkansas is their SEC counterpart
leading that conference with 5.2 blocks per game. (Good for 19th
He Sorta Looks
Like Jesus Shuttleworth --
Arkansas senior guard Jonathon Modica looks a little like Ray Allen. If the NBA does not work out, perhaps
there's a spot as a stunt double in He Got Game II
Ever Found in a Media Guide –
Arkansas' media guide touts eight
Razorbacks as having wingspans greater than their height. Genetically engineered
crops served on the Arkansas
training table might be to blame.
UCan't –Arkansas senior wing and SEC
Preseason Player of the Year, Ronnie Brewer, chose
Arkansas over UConn as a high
school senior. Brewer, whose father also played for
Arkansas, has developed into the
SEC's best player and a consensus All-American among preseason
Season Openers –
Arkansas -- Dontell
matched the school record of 15 assists, Ronnie Brewer and Charles Thomas set
career scoring highs, and Arkansas
shot 60.3 percent from the floor (41-68) in topping
107-69, on Friday. Jefferson
had just four turnovers while also adding eight points and a career-high five
rebounds. Thomas had career highs of 20 points and seven rebounds, and Brewer
had a personal-best 24 points. Darian Townes had 14 points, eight rebounds and a
career-high seven blocked shots, and Jonathon Modica had 16 points. UA used a
19-0 run in the first half to take a 33-10 lead and never looked back. The 107
points are the most for the Hogs since Dec.
when UA beat GramblingState,
121-66. The 107 points in a season-opener are the most since 1998 when
--Sophomore Rudy Gay (Baltimore,
Md.) and junior Josh Boone(Mt. Airy,
Md.) each registered a double-double to help the
University of Connecticut
men's basketball team to a
75-56 win over PepperdineUniversity Friday night at Firestone
Fieldhouse. The game was the season opener for both squads. With the
win, UConn improves to 16-4 in season openers under head
Calhoun and captures a win in the first ever true road game to open a
season under Coach Calhoun. Boone finished with a team high 18
points and added 12 rebounds, while Gay scored 15
points, grabbed ten boards and added five blocked shots. Senior
Rashad Anderson (Lakeland,
Fla.) finished the game with nine points and now has
1,005 for his career. Pepperdine had cut UConn's lead to
54-47 with just over seven minutes remaining, but the Huskies responded with a
15-3 burst that gave them a 69-50 edge with to play. UConn led 34-24 at the half on the strength of
a tenacious defense that held Pepperdine to
26.8% shooting from the field.
Arkansas Razorbacks Probable
No. Name Pos.
Ht. Wt. Cl. Exp. Pts. Rebs.
Jefferson G 6-5 181 SR 1L 8.0 15.0
School-record tying 15
assists and career-high five rebounds in win over
Brewer G 6-7 217 JR 2L 24.0 2.0
All-American by Athlon Sports, Blue Ribbon, College Basketball Yearbook,
CBSSportsline.com & The Sporting News; and SEC preseason player of the year
by SEC media, Blue Ribbon, CBSSportsline.com &
The Sporting News
Modica G 6-5 208 SR 3L 16.0 1.0
points and 10.0 rebounds in two exhibition games while shooting .560 from floor
5 Darian Townes
C 6-10 255 SO 1L 14.0 8.0
Career-high seven blocked
shots in win over PortlandState
Thomas F 6-8 245 SO 1L 20.0 7.0
Career highs of
20 points and seven rebounds in win over Portland State; shot 75 percent from
field in two exhibition games (15-20), averaging 19.5
Points of Emphasis –
UConn brings a pair of
freshman point guards into the Maui Invitation to face
Arkansas' experienced and talented
backcourt. Can Craig Austrie and Robert Garrison run UConn's offense against
Arkansas, especially after a shaky
debut against a weaker Pepperdine team?
Arkansas has size up front, but much
like UConn's point guards, they lack seasoning. Can Darien Townes and company
can keep UConn's bigger and faster front court from dominating
Ronnie vs. Rudy. Both
players should plan to see a lot of each other Monday night. Whichever
super-wing wins that battle may determine the outcome of the