There's a feeling of nostalgia today, as UConn comes town. Jerry Carino reminisced about one of the loudest nights at the RAC when the then #1 Huskies escaped by a point. And two years ago, their top ten squad got upended by a bunch of highly rated freshman.
You see, UConn and Rutgers are unlikely to meet at the RAC in the near future after today. Rutgers is moving on to the Big Ten and the Huskies are-for the moment-sticking around the AAC. And with the RAC a sellout (WEAR BLACK), the Scarlet Knights are hoping for 1 last win against them.
But it's not going to be easy. Here are things to look out for:
--RACmosphere: The game is sold out tonight. There was a hint of the old energy bubbling in the crowd during the Louisville game this year, but the RAC hasn't *really* rocked since the Florida game many moons ago. Can the crowd get up and stay loud the whole game? If so, it's something that could really energize the Scarlet Knights. The student section always drives a crowd. They're back from break. Will they be there tonight?
--Ryan Boatright: He will likely be the story of the game for the TV commentators. He missed the last game (UConn blew out Temple) due to a death in the family. But he's expected to be back tonight, and he'll probably be fired up. Can Rutgers contain him and Shabazz Napier? They are both big, clutch guards. Myles Mack, Jerome Seagears, and J. J. Moore have their work cut out for them.
--Rebounding: Neither team does it particularly well. In pregame talks with the press, UConn coach Kevin Ollie has stressed it. Kadeem Jack has been struggling and needs to crash the boards and gain some confidence again.
--Fouls: If the past is any indication Boatright and Napier will probably shoot 37 free throws. Each. DON'T FOUL THEM.
--DeAndre Daniels: I really feel he's the key to the game. Daniels has been up and down, disappearing in some games and then blowing up in the next (he scored 31 against Temple). Junior Etou will probably draw the early assignment, if Eddie Jordan keeps the same starting line-up. It's a big challenge--and opportunity--for Etou.
In other news, Rutgers recruit Mike Williams scored 26 points last night, including 6 for 6 from 3 point range. He's considered one of the best shooters in NYC. There's optimism there.
Get to the RAC early, if you have tickets. Wear black. BE LOUD. The team needs you. Especially the students.