Today is the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It's early enough to be crushed if your team loses, but also late enough that a loss is a real possibility. Kansas prepares to match up with the Connecticut Huskies on the floor in Des Moines, IA, and we prepare you for the game by chatting with Aman Kidwai over on The UConn Blog, SB Nation's site covering the Huskies. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
RCT: When the brackets dropped and you saw that Kansas was a potential 2nd round matchup, what were your thoughts? Did a 9-seed seem right, or should the Huskies have been a bit higher given their run through the American tournament?
TUB: I felt that given the tournament resume and what I know about the committee that a 9-seed seemed about right, but yes I do think UConn is better than the 36th ranking it received in the field.
The thoughts for a Kansas 2nd round matchup were that it would be a great game between two great programs. And with both respective schools' reputations in the postseason it could be interesting. That said, Kansas has clearly been the most dominant team in the country so the actual matchup is a bit scary.
RCT: The buzz surrounding coach Kevin Ollie is that he has never lost in the NCAA tournament. How much of that would you credit the coach for?
TUB: Ollie prefers to give credit to the players, but those players wouldn't be there if it wasn't for Ollie, so he deserves some credit for putting together a competitive roster under the challenging recruiting situation which he endured at the time he took over (APR ban, move to the AAC from Big East).
RCT: When most fans think of the Huskies, they think of Shabazz Napier. Obviously he isn't there anymore, so who on this team should Kansas fans expect to make a big impact on the game?
TUB: There are three who have been making the most impact lately. Daniel Hamilton has taken the lead role, it seems, as most expected he would going into the season. He is a versatile wing who plays the 'point forward' role but can also put it in the hoop from just about anywhere on the court and is capable of creating his own shot.
The other two are graduate senior PF Shonn Miller and freshman PG Jalen Adams. Miller has been the most consistent player for UConn all season and provides some much-needed offensive ability down low. Adams has been playing the role of facilitator very well while also showing a great ability to get to the bucket with speed. He famously helped keep this season alive in the AAC Tournament against Cincinnati, but it almost obscures how well he has been playing as of late.
RCT: What weakness in this UConn team concerns you the most in matching up with Kansas?
TUB: Our low-post is vulnerable and prone to foul trouble. And the UConn offense looks lost at times for extended stretches.
RCT: Prediction Time! With everything being win-or-go-home from this point out, what does Connecticut have to do score a big upset and move on? Will they get it done?
TUB: UConn needs to get shots to fall early, not force anything offensively, and put forth their best defensive effort on Perry Ellis. It will be tough, UConn can do it, but I wouldn't bet anything on it.
RCT: Bonus - Last year we went on a postseason potluck picnic, and it was so great that I decided to do it again. What food item would you bring to represent your school or the region where it is located?
TUB: We are historically an ag school, so I would bring ice cream from our nationally famous Dairy Bar- maybe some of the funky ice cream sandwiches with banana ice cream and white chocolate chip cookies or something.
A big thanks to Aman for taking some time to answer these questions for us. Don't forget to check out my answers to his questions as well.