After winning their season opener in convincing fashion, Kevin Ollie's UConn Huskies will be hosting New Hampshire in their second game of the season.
While New Hampshire is no juggernaut, picked to finish fourth in America East before the season and currently ranked 159th by KenPom, the Wildcats represent a nice step up in the level of competition compared to the Division II exhibition opponents and Maine, who is currently ranked 310th by KenPom.
Spirits are high after the dismantling of Maine, and even though the Black Bears do not appear to be a very good team, what UConn showed on the court Friday night left many fans excited and impressed. When you are facing one of the worst teams in Division 1 you must destroy them, and that's exactly what UConn did.
Most notably, UConn's two newer, more experienced additions, graduate transfers Sterling Gibbs and power forward Shonn Miller, showed the new element which they bring to the table. In many ways, Rodney Purvis, Amida Brimah and Daniel Hamilton are all known commodities- nobody was surprised to see Brimah swatting shots left and right or Hamilton flirt with a triple-double. But Gibbs' playmaking ability and Shonn Miller's explosiveness and low-post offensive prowess came were nice to see because you never know how well new incoming starters will fit with a team.
Good chemistry can also be easy to fake, though, against a terrible team. But still, 20 assists against Maine is a good sign. If that kind of unselfish play which leads to assists, high-percentage shots, and fewer turnovers shows up again tonight against tougher competition it will be even better.
Moreover, these games usually offer a chance to see what we can expect from the UConn bench. Kentan Facey turned in a solid performance against Maine, can he keep it up? It'd be great to have him as a reliable frontcourt option off the bench. Omar Calhoun and Sam Cassell Jr. struggled in the opener, was it a blip on the radar or is it time to drop our expectations for those two? Will Phil Nolan play? Where does he fit into the rotation if and when he does?
What about the freshmen? Jalen Adams figures to be a key contributor this year, and has looked solid so far. Will that continue? Steve Enoch appears to have a skill set unique to the rest of the big men on the team, is it enough to leapfrog some upperclassmen in the rotation?
Those are just a few of the things to keep an eye on tonight. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments!