Today's Elite 8 matchup in Glendale matches the top ranked Connecticut Huskies against the Missouri Tigers, a team that dropped 102 on Thursday night against Memphis.
Missouri was a fun team to watch, playing high energy basketball without committing cheap fouls. Their defense is difficult to break, but their lack of height is a big concern going into this matchup.
UConn features 7'3" Hasheem Thabeet, who has been awarded the Big East Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year, while also being annointed an All-American just in 2008-2009.
Last season, he was the National Defensive Player of the Year, not to the mention the Big East equivalent of the award as well (which makes sense).
Connecticut isn't a one-trick pony, however. Loaded with experience, they feature a starting lineup loaded with seniors including Jeff Adrien and A.J. Price.
The Huskies aren't willing to overlook Missouri, knowing full well just how potent their brand of basketball is. “Yeah, it’s exciting. Playing a good team from the Big 12 gives us bragging rights," said Adrien on Friday. "It helps us with recruiting too and it’s also a trip to Detroit. We’re very excited to play Missouri.”
While playing for a Hall of Fame coach in Jim Calhoun, the Huskies always are being expertly coached and guided on the court.
“It is good for a coach to be hard on you; when he is not, then you have to worry. You want to go to a great program where the coach is going to get on you," Huskies forward Stanley Robinson explained. "It is good for a coach to be hard on you I think.”
From the Missouri bench, we heard from DeMarre Carroll, who has a chip on his shoulder from the lack of respect the mainstream media has given the Tigers.
“We won the Big-12 and we’ve had an easy road and everybody is saying we can’t and we use that as motivation. We have a chip on our shoulder and I think every time we go out there we listen to the analysts on ESPN that say this team is going to win and we use that as motivation," Carroll stated.
"We like to be under the radar and be the underdogs in every event. We are just going to keep going out and doing what we are doing and hey, we are going to win a national championship and then we’ll see what else they say we can’t do.”
Bold words from a great player. The elite 8 is shaping up to be an epic matchup in Glendale, and House Of Sparky will be there, bringing you postgame coverage afterwards.