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Huskies men's basketball gets underway at The Barclay's....

POSTED November 08, 2013
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

STORRS: It’s time.

The long awaited start to a season that matters kicks off tonight for the UConn men’s basketball team in one the most unique venues they will play at this season.

The Huskies travel to Brooklyn to take on the University of Maryland at The Barclay Center at 6:30 with high expectations, a top 20 national ranking (18) and a chance to play meaningful basketball next spring.

Second-year head coach Kevin Ollie and his team are certainly ready to get this one under way after a 20-10 season a year ago that was a pleasant surprise but because of NCAA sanctions, lost meaning with no post season eligibility.  

Well, 2013-2014 is upon us, grades are up and the men have something to shoot for.

“We are itching to go,” Ollie said after his team’s last 98-38 win over Concordia on Monday. “The team can’t wait to get out there with something on the line and see what we have.”

UConn is part of the basic fabric of the NCAA, having them back in the overall battle for the top spot at year end is good for the region and the country.

This is a program rich in history that seems to have weathered the storm from last year under the guidance of Ollie and his coaching staff and is ready to go at it for real.

Maryland is a good first test for the Huskies who have one of the best backcourt combo’s in the country in Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright but need to improve up front in the rebounding department, a weakness a year ago.

They have some new faces who have showed promise up front but it all starts with junior DeAndre Daniels (6’9”) who has looked good so far this pre-season but needs to assert himself early and often on the boards for UConn to be successful.

Sophomore Phillip Nolan (6’10”) and freshman sensation Amida Brimah (7’0”) have impressed as well, Brimah especially as a shot blocker and early fan favorite.

Three players for UConn will be going home to play in a place none of them though would exist growing up.

Terrance Samuel, Omar Calhoun and Tor Watts are all from Brooklyn and get a chance tonight to play in front of family and friends as they kick off a season they hope will result in a long run in March of 2014.      

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