Welcome back to our semi-regular feature Friends With Bennies, where we sit down with another Big East blogger to talk about their team. Today we have Dave from On the Banks to talk about tomorrow's game with Rutgers. I also answered some questions for them, which you can find here.
TheUConnBlog: UConn has struggled in its two road games this year. The RAC is known for being a hostile environment, but students are still on winter break. What type of arena are the Huskies walking into on Saturday?
On The Banks: Probably a pretty quiet one. It'd be nice if the students could get there, but they haven't--even for Florida. After losing by 2 to USF and by what felt like 200 to WVU, there is little buzz for this game. I'm guessing you're looking at 5,000 fans, including maybe 100 students. It won't get real loud at all.
TUB: Who should the the Huskies be watching out for? Who are Rutgers' playmakers?
OTB: Eli Carter has been our freshman stud so far this year. In the past three games, he's been averaging over 20 points, including 31 against UF. Myles Mack has been very clutch as the freshman point guard off the bench. They have been our scoring punch lately. If we're in the game, however, it's because Dane Miller decided to play and is scoring double digits.
TUB: UConn's strength is in its speed, length and athleticism, how can Rutgers counter that?
OTB: Rutgers has speed and likes to turn the ball over and run. But, I'd expect, Rutgers will try to pressure UConn and force them to slow the game into the half court. They'll come out in a switching man to man defense and try to get hands in the passing lanes. RU has pressed more recently, but I'm not sure they'll do that much this game, as Napier and Lamb are too athletic.
TUB: What are your thoughts on Rutgers' season so far? What are your expectations for the rest of the way?
OTB: The Florida game is the best RAC game I've ever been too, and I've been going for about 12 years. The rest of it has been up and down, which is what you'd expect when playing 7 freshman. The disappointment has come mostly from the upper classman--two juniors--who were expected to do more than they have. As for the rest of the way, I expect more of the same. Until Dane Miller decides he's going to play hard every night, RU is going to struggle. There will be some games where the team is electric and some where it's a huge disappointment. The hallmark of a very young team.
TUB: What is your prediction for the game?
OTB: Calhoun's back? Ugh. That has the earmarkings of an ugly game. Especially if RU isn't hitting their shots early. My guess? 72-58 UConn, which RU getting some garbage points to make it that close at the end.