Now that we're getting used to our fancy new digs, its time to get down to the business of basketball. The Huskies are in action tomorrow against Georgetown and, in our first attempt at SBNation synergy, we've connected with the folks over at Casual Hoya to give you an idea of whats in store. Also, be sure to check out our responses to their questions which are posted here (and though for only Kevin and I are named, Jesus UConn Justin did the heavy lifting on the "what do you think about all those arrests" question).
TheUConnBlog: So what can we expect from this Georgetown team? Obviously after stunning UConn last year their whole world fell apart, but it seems like this squad is off to a good start. Should I be as worried about Greg Monroe as I am? What else should I look out for?
Casual Hoya:As is the norm in HoyaVille, after the loss at Marquette the sky is falling and there’s no hope for recovery. The tailspin has begun and if you ask some people, Georgetown will be lucky to make the NIT. Of course, after we beat UConn this weekend those same people will start booking their hotel rooms in Indianapolis in April. Is Georgetown off to a good start? I guess so. The wins over Butler and Washington were good, and avoiding a kick in the crotch loss at DePaul and getting a win over St. John’s was certainly better than losing to them. But I don’t yet have a firm grasp on whether this team can be a force in March, in large part due to the inconsistency on the offensive end. You are probably justifiably worried about Monroe given the way he manhandled your precious lottery pick last season, but the Hoyas have had four different players lead the team in scoring in various games this year, so we can come at you from a few directions. Julian Vaughnhas proven (at least so far) to be a nice complement to Monroe underneath, filling the Jerome Williams Junkyard Dog role, while Jason Clark and Austin Freeman are both capable scorers from the perimeter. It’s anyone’s guess what you’ll get out of Chris Wright on any given night, but he is certainly capable of putting up big numbers.
TUB: UConn's biggest strength is probably its speed and athleticism. With the exception of (at times) Kentucky, no one has been able to match the Huskies this year, which can create big problems for whoever tries to cover Kemba Walker and Stanley Robinson. How's Georgetown in this department? Can they match up at all, or do you expect to see a lot of exploitation of UConn's limited front court?
CH:Tough pill to swallow but Gtown is not particularly quick or athletic. Yet they don’t get beat off the dribble much, partly because they don’t overextend on defense. The team’s most athletic player is Jason Clark, a guard who can afford to gamble on defense because his speed gets him back in position. Chris Wright and Austin Freeman, the other starting guards are really strong and have moments where their athleticism will surprise you but concentrate much more on using their strength to maintain defensive position. Stanley Robinson faces a couple of options in the front court, between Julian Vaughn and Greg Monroe – Monroe’s clearly the better player of the two but does not have the same strength (or aggressiveness) that Vaughn does and relies more on his skill.
The bench has been nearly nonexistent this year but at 6’7, Hollis Thompson is usually the first sub and spells both front and backcourt players. He’s been effective at hitting outside shots and getting rebounds and is a very good athlete though his lack of strength has been an issue. The other key sub is Henry Sims, a sophomore who has struggled mightily this year – everyone had high expectations for him to be a real contributor in the frontcourt but he has been outmuscled in every game thus far.
Gtown won’t wow anyone with athleticism but instead looks to dictate tempo. If UConn can force pressure and get Gtown to sub for winded starters, it would present serious problems.
TUB: How's the outlook from here? Are you nervous at all about a repeat of last year? Would you be comfortable predicting that Georgetown will go .500 in the Big East? What would your answer have been this time last year?
CH: The outlook was much sunnier before last night. Then Greg Monroe turned into a combination of Roy Hibbertagainst Villanova and Jeff Green against Ohio State. We're not particularly concerned about a repeat of last year because both malcontents (Jessie Sapp and DaJuan Summers) are gone. We still worry about who the actual leader of this team is, though. Monroe should be on talent alone, but Chris Wright seems to be the most outspoken player. We would absolutely be comfortable predicting a .500 or better finish in the Big East, although at this point last year we believed this team would go to the Final Four. We will know more about this team after January 30th, until then, we're just going to keep our fingers crossed that Chris Wright doesn't punch anyone in the locker room.
TUB: When I was a young child, I touched a car cigarette lighter. I burned myself, it hurt and I was embarrassed. As a result, I never did it again. With that in mind, why does Georgetown schedule Old Dominion to play at McDonough?
CH: You are right, learning things is hard. And I don't know if Georgetown has yet learned from the experience of losing two straight at an on-campus gym. But that's only two lessons over three years. I think it's going to take us at least a decade to get things right. That is apparently how long it's taken Calhoun to still not figure out how to keep his basketball program out of the police blotter; from Doug Wrenn being arrested for shoplifting to Nate Miles violating a restraining order (with stopovers in jail for A.J. Price, Marcus Williams, Ben Gordon, Clyde Vaughn and Marcus Cox, and one whole season without incident.) Oh, and Georgetown has never failed to reach the Final Four in years it has lost to Old Dominion at McDonough. How many times does UConn go to the final four when someone is arrested?
TUB: I know that Jim Calhoun is not exactly popular with fans of other Big East programs. But you're a Hoya fan, so presumably, you hate Syracuse with a burning passion. So, who is worse? Calhoun or Boeheim?
CH: Awful question. Here is how I think of it.
If Jim Boeheim were to retire, I would still hate Syracuse with a burning passion. My hate for Boeheim is because he is the coach of Syracuse. Granted, Boeheim is an unbearably whiny, conniving, and complaining bitch, he still managed to score a hot wife, something I give him credit for. I also feel bad for Boeheim, in a league predicated on intimidation, Boeheim can’t even look tough knocking over a microphone.
If Jim Calhoun were to retire, or more likely be banned from collegiate athletics for cheating, I would not hate UConn as much. My hate for Calhoun drives my hate UConn. He is an arrogant, cheating, condescending @sshole. His tales of breaking and bending the rules are limitless, whether with Khalid El-Amin, Charlie Villanueva or Rudy Gay. He lacks respect for what constitutes a student-athlete and his players are constantly in trouble with the law. He is not a teacher, mentor, coach or role model. He runs his program like an AAU team and his feud with John Calipari certainly revolves around who is a bigger cheater.
Jim Calhoun is worse.