Monday, November 30, 2009

DUKE/UCONN To Clash, Renew Rivalry

The story of 12th-ranked UConn's 2009-10 campaign starts out nicely. Not in Jim Calhoun's eyes, but the story starts out nicely.

Despite boasting a thin frontline without highly-acclaimed 6-foot-10 freshman Ater Majok (eligible in December), the Huskies are 4-0.

The Huskies, however, have let lower-tier teams they should be bludgeoning stay in their neighborhood before pulling away.

William And Mary hung around on opening night at Gampel Pavilion, with Jim
Calhoun calling out his squad for playing a half-baked brand of defense.

The Huskies were also unable to sustain a pace or bulge against Colgate or Hofstra, though they dismantled LSU in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip Off, 81-55.

We all know William And Mary, Colgate, Hofstra and LSU (as of right now), are not exactly in the same zip code as Duke.

So the stage is set for a thriller at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of Basketball.

It's Calhoun v.s. Coach K, two Hall of Fame game generals going eyeball to eyeball.

It's the Garden, where the Huskies lost a 6-overtime marathon game to
Rival Syracuse in last year's Big East tournament.

It's Dick Vitale, who loves giving Duke verbal back massages no matter who it is out there playing for them.

That is why it's a barometer game for the Huskies, who face a slew of
also-rans before taking on the Big East schedule.

Jerome Dyson, who starred as a freshman before a long team suspension followed by an injury which shortened his sophomore and junior seasons, has been the alpha dog.

Dyson has shred defenses. The bouncy guard has improved his perimeter shooting.

He's become more creative off the bounce, drawing in defenders and lobbing up alley-oop passes for Stanley "Sticks" Robinson to violently crush home.

He's certainly not the Dyson of previous years.

Dyson seems like he's no longer feast-or-famine. He used to be a bully,
feasting on the non-conference cupcakes and then disappearing in big games.

Robinson has also seemed to kick his paltry-or-party habits, giving an
Efficient account of himself.

The cat known as Sticks had 14 points, 11 boards, four dimes, and tacked on three blocks during the Huskies’ drubbing of LSU.

Kemba Walker has become more of scorer while leading UConn's go-go, speedball style offense.

No.7 Duke has been unflappable in their 5-0 start.

Jon Scheyer has been shooting and dishing with the accuracy of a marksman.

Scheyer committed his first turnover of the year in Duke's win over Arizona State in the Semis at the Garden.

The Blue Devils used a 19-3 second half spurt to run away with it against
ASU, which led 15-7 in the early going.

Kyle Singler is playing like the All-American everyone envisions him as.

Nolan Smith has suddenly emerged into a scorer, filling some of the void left by Gerald Henderson.