Huskies and Bobcats meet in Storrs
Storrs, CT (Sports Network) – Loaded with fresh faces, the 18th-ranked
Connecticut Huskies begin the 2006-07 season at home against the
Quinnipiac Bobcats. The Bobcats finished last season 12-16 overall, and they
have been picked to finish fourth in the Northeast Conference. The program is
26-30 all-time in season openers dating back to 1951, and Quinnipiac is
obviously a huge underdog tonight.
As for Connecticut, it is 16-4 in season openers under coach Jim Calhoun, and
the program is 46-4 all-time against non-conference opponents at Gampel
Pavilion. Last season, the Huskies finished 30-4 overall and narrowly missed
the Final Four, losing to George Mason in dramatic fashion. Many of the key
contributors are gone from that team, so expectations are tempered a bit
Connecticut has won all seven previous meetings with Quinnipiac, all by double
Quinnipiac figures to be solid on the boards this season, as three of the top
20 rebounders in the Northeast Conference compose the Bobcats’ front line.
Chris Wehye, Victor Akinyanju and Karl Anderson are all steady contributors on
the glass, and Anderson led his conference in field goal percentage a year ago
by shooting a stellar 63 percent. Adam Gonzalez is a strong free throw shooter
for the Bobcats, and he returns 10.5 ppg to the lineup. With 109 assists in 28
games, Gonzalez is a solid distributor. Expect Wehye to get plenty of touches
at the offensive end tonight, as he is coming off a 2005-06 campaign that saw
him score 9.8 ppg.
Think for a moment about the standout performers from last season’s UConn
squad that have moved on. Rudy Gay is gone, as are Marcus Williams, Rashad
Anderson, Josh Boone, Hilton Armstrong and Denham Brown. Those players were
the six top scorers for the Huskies a year ago, and no returnee netted more
than 6.5 ppg last season. Jeff Adrien is a solid forward who is expected to be
a key cog in the lineup. Marcus Johnson and Craig Austrie didn’t see a great
deal of time in 2005-06, but both have a chance to be double-figure scorers.
Keep an eye on Stanley Robinson, as he posted a double-double in the most
recent exhibition game.
UConn is a basketball powerhouse that seemingly brings in brilliant recruiting
classes every season. While the Huskies may struggle a bit early on with many
of the mainstays from last year’s squad, expect Calhoun’s group to roll past