It doesn't suck to be a UConn fan these days. Even though their Women's Basketball team ended their 90 game winning streak, they have a Top 10 Men's and Women's basketball team and their football team just won their first Big East Championship. We talked about Kemba Walker, the battle between Shabazz Napier and Jawanza Poland, and whether or not Calhoun dons some NYE gear for the game tonight. You can also see the other end of our Q&A here.
1. You're 100 times more excited for the Fiesta Bowl than you are for this game, aren't you? It's OK, you can admit it.
I'm actually not. This football thing is still way to new to me. One of the other writers at TheUConnBlog nailed it when he said the Fiesta Bowl was kind of like an All-Star game for UConn football fans. We're thrilled to be there and amazed at the journey it took to make it, but since I don't think a lot of us expect to win, we're just trying to enjoy it. I can't ever think that way about basketball though. Whenever I see UConn jerseys on the court all I can do is look at the other team and think "kill, kill, kill."
2. Kemba Walker. He's awesome. Explain what it means to have an actual point guard.
It's lovely and he's electrifying to watch. Since it's a night game on New Year's Eve, I don't know how many of the 18 USF fans will be watching the game, but they really should just to see Kemba do his thing.
3. Is Gampel now just where the women's team plays?
The easiest way to get any UConn fan upset is to talk about how the Athletic Department insists on playing half of UConn's games in Hartford every year. We know why they do it -- they can sell about 4,000 more tickets per game there, but it absolutely kills the atmosphere. Plus, UConn is demonstrably better in Gampel. Do you know who the all-time opposing win leader in Gampel is? St. John's, with 3 (!), and they haven't won there in at least a decade (the stadium is 20 years old). I don't mind playing USF there because A) It's break so students aren't on campus anyway and B) USF isn't a real threat, but when we play Syracuse in Hartford instead of on campus (like we are this year) it makes me want to put my fist through a wall.
4. I think the best matchup will be between JAWANZA! Poland and SHABAZZ! Napier. Who has the better name?
Shabazz, though our preferred spelling is SHABAZZ~!! Our nickname for Shabazz is "punctuation" because every game he'll make a handful of plays that you can only react to with SHABAZZ!!!!!!!!!! and then turn right around and do something inexplicable that gets a SHABAZZ???????
5. Do you think any long-term flaws were exposed in Pittsburgh, or was it just something to be expected playing a top-10 team on the road?
I don't think they were exposed because we already knew what they were. UConn is weak in the front court, so if Alex Oriakhi, who was averaging a double-double before Monday's stinker doesn't produce, UConn will struggle. The team is also young and relies heavily on four freshmen, who, by their nature are inconsistent. If three or four of those guys are on (like they were against Michigan St. and Kentucky earlier this year), UConn can hang with anybody. If only one guy shows up, or no one does (which is what happened against Pittsburgh), UConn will have a hard time winning.
6. Do you think Cal dons a NYE hat and glasses combo for the 2nd half after you go in the half with a 30 point lead?
Nope, at Big East Media Day, Calhoun complained about playing a game on New Years Eve, but said in the next breath that he doesn't really get the holiday and doesn't feel any special need to celebrate it.
7. The UConn women set the bar this year with their 26 point win over us earlier this season. Will the men cover our imaginary 26 point line?
It's possible. Winning by 26 is no easy task in the men's game. The boys might be out for blood after the Pittsburgh loss though, so you never know.
Thanks to TheUConnBlog, and root like hell for them tomorrow against Oklahoma.