Saturday, March 07, 2009

PRE-GAME PRIMER


***Whoa, whoa, whoa, Jimmy's cryin'. Above is what Jim Calhoun will have facing him today at The Pete, about 10,000 of them:

Towels are $2 apiece, and all proceeds go to cancer research, ironically enough.

***Calhoun probably wasn't too ecstatic when he saw today's officiating crew – or at least one name on it: Mike Kitts. The same Mike Kitts whom Calhoun lambasted (without actually calling him out by name) following the Feb. 16 Pitt-UConn matchup.

Apparently, however, it was a mistake. Jim Burr is the head referee, and Kitts is not with this crew. Kitts' name was wiped off the whiteboard and replaced by Burr at about 10 a.m.

***I've seen some long lines outside arenas for UConn games lately (at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee for Marquette, or instance), but not sure I've seen one longer than the one outside The Pete today. This one stretched around the building, up Terrace Street about half a block. Impressive.

***Matchups are starting to take form for the Big East tournament. This much we know: No. 9 Cincinnati will play No. 16 DePaul on Tuesday at noon; No. 10 Notre Dame will play No. 15 Rutgers on Tuesday at 7 p.m. South Florida is the No. 14 seed and Marquette is the No. 5 seed. Everything else is still to be determined.

***Today is Senior Day at The Pete. Sean Brown Tyrell Biggs, Levance Fields and Sam young will be recognized along with a couple of trainers and a manager – prior to the game, rather than after it, like they did on Feb. 26, 2005. Pitt lost that game to UConn, making the postgame ceremony rather anti-climatic.

***No word yet on whether Fields will play today. Just heard a rumor he was on crutches all day yesterday, but that's just a rumor. Still being called a game-time decision. He wasn't shooting around with the team for early pregame warm-ups, for what that's worth.

***Jerome Dyson is here, dressed to the nines in a brown suit. He says his rehab is coming along well, right now limited to leg-strengthening exercises and some light work in the pool. Next week he'll start working out on a stationary bike.

Dyson said he'll stay at UConn over the summer and plans to work out with Marcus Williams, who's slated to be in Storrs to work out for a while. He will travel with the team for both the Big East and NCAA tournaments.


***Jaquon Parker, a 6-4 shooting guard and UConn target out of King's Fork High in Suffolk, Va., will do a year of prep school at the South Kent School.

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