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UConn Preview: Will the 2012 WVU Magic Continue Tonight?

Things can’t get much better for WVU fans than it has this past week. In addition to the "Massacre in Miami," our Men’s Basketball team (12-4) has had a banner week themselves. After dominating Rutgers on the road, we then took down #9 Georgetown at home. Tonight on ESPN2, the Mounties have another chance to shine in front of the nation when we face off against a UConn squad that just had one of their worst weeks on record.

The Huskies have lost two straight Big East games to unranked opponents (after a fall where new football coach Paul "Pass-the-Gabagoo" guided them to a 5-7 season). Last week their hoops squad lost to a Rutgers team that WVU had just stomped by 21 points. Needless to say, Coaches poll #16 UConn didn't hold onto that #8 ranking very long, and a third straight loss might drop them out of everyone's Top 25. Their record is deceiving, too, as the only Top 25 teams they’ve beaten are Florida State (9-6 & no longer ranked) and #25 Harvard ("Like oh sure, he went to Harvard!" – Louis Winthorp III)

When UConn is playing well they can rely on their 3-point shooting (42% from behind the arc as a team). But like WVU and Georgetown, the Huskies are reinventing themselves this year with new players taking the lead. After a surprising run to the national title last year and Kemba Walker’s early departure for the NBA, sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb’s production has risen from 11.1 ppg last year to 18.2 ppg this season. Lamb got into foul trouble against Rutgers and was held to just 8 points, that meant Shabazz Napier had to carry the scoring load himself.

Much like WVU’s Jones & Bryant combo, if UConn’s big two (Lamb & Napier) have off nights, the Huskies are vulnerable. We should dominate the boards with KJ, Deniz and now Dominique Rutledge beginning to forcefully assert himself. Will Truck continue his hot shooting? Will our guards be able to keep theirs from getting good 3-point looks (against Rutgers, Napier was 4-8 from three range but 1-6 inside the arc)?

Bet your Christmas bonus that Huggs is strategizing to neutralize the two aforementioned Huskies. Then bet an equal share that UConn coach Jim Calhoun is doing the same to keep KJ off the glass and someone in Truck’s face when he’s shooting.

Tip off is 7:00 p.m. from Hartford, Connecticut and the game can be seen on ESPN2 and ESPN3.