TheOpenThread: Harvard at UConn

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Well, lookie here. If it isn't a quality non-conference basketball game at Gampel Pavilion, pre-New Year's.

That's more of a happy coincidence than anything else; this is the third straight year UConn has scheduled Harvard as part of Jim Calhoun's annual "F--k You, Other New England Schools" pre-January march of terror. (The Huskies scraped by in a six-point game in 2009-10, and blew out a 23-win Crimson team last year by almost 30 points.)

It just so happens that this year's Harvard team looks to be one of the better Ivy League teams of recent history, and an apparently legitimate Top 25 team, considering Tommy Amaker's group won the Battle 4 Atlantis - AKA the early-season tournament UConn did not win - beating Florida State (in an all-time ugly game) and Central Florida (which handed the Huskies their only loss thus far) to get the job done.

KenPom rates the Crimson at #37 in his rankings, and judging by the Four Factors (eFG%, turnover%, offensive rebound% and FT rate), they are quite the nasty little defensive team (39th overall). Though it seems they've benefited greatly from the best free throw defense in America (opponents are shooting 54% from the line against Harvard).

Amaker's gameplan has involved just throwing a bunch of 6-5 to 6-8 guys on the floor, led by leading scorer Keith Wright (11.4 per). But don't sleep on Laurent Rivard, which is the most Harvard name ever, who is shooting 40% from 3 this year.

As for the Huskies, this will be the final game before their 10-day winter break for finals, meaning basically this is the last night before the season really begins. Ryan Boatright has been a revelation in early action, Andre Drummond is starting to figure out where the beast mode switch is, and Jerebazz Lampier continues to rock our collective worlds while not even planning to call us back in the morning.

So let's see if the Huskies can't beat this bunch of eggheads before hitting the books.

It's a rare UConn-Mid Major game on ESPN2 tonight; tip is at 7 p.m., and this will be your open thread. Use it wisely.

Go Huskies.

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