- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2006

FRONTCOURT

Connecticut possesses a frightening collection of big men, led by leading scorer and likely All-American pick Rudy Gay. Josh Boone leads the Huskies in rebounding, while center Hilton Armstrong has a team-high 101 blocks. All three are taller than Washington’s starting forwards, which could prove an insurmountable matchup problem for Lorenzo Romar’s scrappy team.

Advantage: Connecticut

BACKCOURT

The return of Marcus Williams from suspension in early January fortified an already talented Connecticut backcourt, and Denham Brown has been especially effective in his last six games (17.8 ppg). Brandon Roy (20.2 ppg) is easily Washington’s best player, and he receives plenty of help from freshman point guard Justin Dentmon. Both are excellent defensive players and could give UConn fits.

Advantage: Even

BENCH

It seems like Rashad Anderson, Connecticut’s second-leading scorer with 12.8 points a game, has been playing for the Huskies forever. Anderson, along with Jeff Adrien and Craig Austrie, give arguably the nation’s most talented team plenty of depth. Washington receives a boost off the bench from Jamaal Williams (13.3 ppg) and Ryan Appleby (7.8), but it has been known to rely only on a seven-man rotation in close games.

Advantage: Connecticut, slightly

COACHING

Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun is a Hall of Famer who has two national titles to his credit, but the Huskies have shown some shocking sluggishness in a few losses this year, notably a defeat at Marquette and a stumble against Syracuse in the Big East tournament. Lorenzo Romar has helped Washington reach back-to-back regional semifinals for the first time, and the Huskies have won 10 of 11 behind a strong defense.

Advantage: Even

KEY MATCHUP

Connecticut SG Denham Brown vs. Washington SG Brandon Roy

Connecticut could wind up winning by wearing down Washington inside, but it would be remiss to ignore the hottest player on either side. Brown (below) never has been much of a defensive stopper or an offensive distributor, but his strong play of late merely has enhanced the opportunities for UConn’s frontcourt. Roy ranked in the top 10 in the Pac-10 in points, rebounds, assists and steals on his way to conference player of the year honors, and Washington will need an all-around performance from its star to topple top-seeded Connecticut.

Patrick Stevens

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