If I had to guess, I'd wager that Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond did not have a particularly pleasant time at practice this weekend. By all indications Jim Calhoun was extremely displeased with his two biggest big men after an underwhelming performance against Columbia in the season opener on Friday night. The two big men are both on the Naismith award watch list, but were clearly outclassed by someone who was decidedly not: E.O. Smith product Tyler Olander. Here's the best Calhoun quote of the year so far, which is less a compliment of Olander than it is a slap at everyone else on the team over 6'8:
"They outworked us. We don't have anyone in the frontcourt ready to play right now, except for Tyler, who understands the game of basketball. I told Enosch (Wolf), ‘You haven't done much, but it's a good time for you to do something right now.'"
So you should expect to see the bigs come out and try to make an impact tonight vs. Wagner (1-0, ranked 170 by KenPom), because you know Calhoun won't have any tolerance for another lackluster performance. As an added bonus, Wagner, unlike most of UConn's early-season opponents, actually has something resembling a front line. Six-foot-eleven Naofail Folahan plays a decent amount of minutes, and there are four more guys on the roster at 6'8" or above.
The Seahawks' biggest threat is probably senior guard Tyler Murray, who was first-team All-NEC and scored 15 points in 31 minutes in Wagner's opener against Princeton. I imagine that either Jeremy Lamb or (hopefully) Roscoe Smith will draw the assignment to cover Murray, which might slow him down. Watch out though, he shot over 40% from 3 last year, and seems like exactly the type of player who always seems to go off for 30 points on 6-7 shooting from beyond the arch when they play UConn.
The game tips at 7:30 from Gampel Pavilion. You can catch it on SNY or ESPN3. Please join us in the comments and go huskies.