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What to watch for: UConn vs. AIC

Hasheem Thabeet (above) should have a field day tonight against an undersized and under-talented AIC team.

Hasheem Thabeet (above) should have a field day tonight against an undersized and under-talented AIC team.

What to watch for? Well, nothing, really.

This is hardly a clash of the titans, but UConn's struggles against mediocre Division II schools the past season will at least make this thing interesting (the Huskies were down at the half against AIC in exhibition play the past year two years ago).

<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!-- --><!--[if gte mso 10]> <mce:style><! /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} --> <!--[endif]-->But in case your a Nihilist, here are a few things to keep track of and some notes on key players.


UConn:

  1. WHO STARTS: Coach Jim Calhoun wouldn't tip his hat yesterday as far as the starting lineup is concerned, but he did say he had narrowed it down to six. Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet, A.J. Price and Jerome Dyson are virtual locks. The debate comes down to super frosh Kemba Walker and Craig "Jesus" Austrie. Although Craig was anointed with his nickname last season after emerging from the shadows to be a key pick-me-up, Calhoun has criticized his conditioning throughout the preseason. My Take: Craig starts tonight, loses the job, then reclaims it down the road. See my Austrie timeline from yesterday if you need more evidence/clarification.
  2. HOW THE FRESHMAN PLAY: Juco transfer Charles Okwandu won't be seeing the floor, as he tries to sort out a small hicup in his elgibility, but both Kemba and Scottie Haralson will see their first live action. Kemba has been touted as the second coming of awesome, but Calhoun has been enamored with Haraslon's shooting in the preseason. Although ranked as a three-star prospect, Haralson's 3-point shooting is supposed to be amazing. If he does just that, his recruitment will be looked at as pure genius.
  3. A.J. PRICE: After tearing his ACL in last year's first-round exit in the NCAA Tourney, it will be interesting to see how Price looks in his first game, albeit an exhibition one. I haven't seen him in practice, but I've heard he looks good. I saw him the other day and he looks more muscular, too.
  4. WILL THE DOVE FLY?: Probably not the most pressing issue, but we might get a tip-off as to whether Jonathan Mandeldove will redshirt tonight, depending on if he plays. Quick story on the Dove. Apparently he told all the media members to just call him John last year, and they did -- for a bit. But soon after, everyone -- independent of each other -- simply went back to Jonathan. It fits so well, especially when you see him. So, needless to say, I support the movement.
  5. THABEET'S DEVELOPMENT: Again, this probably won't be too easy to see tonight, considering AIC's tallest player is 6-foot-7. But Thabeet remains raw offensively, and he tends to be confused when playing against smaller lineups. It's kind of like being Godzilla. Everyone's running around him, and he just doesn't know where to go. Regardless, if he throws down a few dunks in the first 15 mins, fans, and critics, will be happy.

AIC

Key Players:

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  • Aikeem Vanderhorst, Jr., F: Led the team in scoring last year with 14.4 ppg, second on team with 6.7 rebounds per contest.
  • Colson Senat, Sr., F: The tallest player on the team at 6-foot-7, Senat averaged 10.7 ppg.
  • Ryan Leak, Jr. F: Leak: the team's best player, missed the Yellow Jackets' last 14 games last season, and the team went 3-11 during that span. Before he went down, he averaged 13.3 and 6.3 boards.

Check back after the game/during for Twitter fun. But for now, it's game-time. Woot?