Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Interior Play The Huskies' Biggest Concern

No question, John Wall is an NBA player sporting a Kentucky uniform.

Yes, he's a freakish athlete and the surefire first pick of the 2010 NBA draft.

Yes, Wall will likely put on a show on the big stage at Madison Square Garden tonight.

Yes, Wall's averaging 18.1 points and 7.7 dimes (second in the nation) and will surely be the most gifted player on the court in tonight's BIG EAST/SEC Invitational Doubleheader. St. John's plays Georgia before Jim Calhoun and John Calipari renew their blood feud as UConn takes on Kentucky.

Is the electrifying Wall the primary concern for the Huskies, which boast a super-slim frontline that's missing a key piece without 6-foot-11 Ater Majok? NO.

Patrick Patterson, who tested the NBA waters before opting to stay another year, could be a major factor tonight.

Patterson is averaging 16 points and 10 boards and providing necessary veteran leadership for this young, potent team.

The 6-foot-10 junior poses as a major threat to UConn, which lost the battle on the boards to smaller, also-rans such as Colgate and Hofstra.

“I would take (Patterson) tomorrow — not necessarily in a trade, just take him,” quipped Calhoun.

“Having a player that comes back sets up the whole thing. He’s a kid who wants to win, loves the game of basketball, loves playing at Kentucky. People say, ‘He’s this and not that,’ but I know one thing: he’s damn good.”

Damn right. Patterson also spearheads up one of the top frontlines in the nation, if not the top.

DeMarcus Cousins, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound gargantuan, is another a beast underneath. The standout freshmen is another a highly-regarded NBA prospect. The neophyte is averaging around 15 points and eight boards.

If the Huskies are to stop the Wildcats, they must execute the clamp down operation on Cousins and Patterson. Both players could have their way in the lane with freshman Alex Oriahki and senior forward Gavin Edwards.

Remember, Edwards is more of a finesse player. Physical, interior banging is a bit out of his nature. He will have his hands full tonight.

Stanley "Sticks" Robinson is also more of a finesse player, although he has shown he can tear down rebounds when he plays possessed.

The problem that could emerge, however, is foul trouble. UConn's bench is weaker than chinese tea and 7-foot-1 Charles Okwandu, a work-in-progress, fouled out in six minutes last game. Ouch.

I’m more concerned with their size,” said Calhoun of Kentucky.

While the interior play will be a major deciding factor, the extraterrestrial Wall could very well steal the show in his Garden debut.