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TheOpenThread: Cincinnati Bearcats at UConn Huskies

Hello there Gampel Pavilion, my old friend, I can't tell you how delighted I am to see you again. Today is January 18, and for the first time since December 9 (!) the Huskies will be playing a basketball game in Storrs, CT. I'm overjoyed, especially because UConn is hosting a dangerous Cincinnati team that seems built to exploit the suddenly shorthanded Huskies.

The Bearcats use a small lineup and aggressive style to force lots of turnovers (they lead the Big East), and as losses to Rutgers and Seton Hall proved, the Huskies can get in a lot of trouble when they don't protect the ball. And those losses came when the Huskies had backup in the backcourt. Ryan Boatright will be out again tonight (thanks NCAA!) which means both Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb will play for the vast majority, if not all of the game tonight against a high pressure attack.

The flip side of that is that UConn should have a real advantage in the front court, especially if Alex Oriakhi is able to play at the level he did against West Virginia and Notre Dame. Bearcat senior forward Yancy Gates might be able to limit one of Oriakhi or Andre Drummond, but not both.

The game tips at 7 on ESPN2 and ESPN3. Make sure to check out our Q&A with Bearcats Blog to find out more about Cincinnati. Please join us in the comments to share your thoughts. Go Huskies.