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Sleeping with the Enemy, Part 2: Taking a Ride with @NoEscalators

ANOTHER ONE.  Here with us to dish on more Huskies talk are our buddies @NoEscalators, your witty twitter source for all things UConn.  Let's do this!  Part 1 of our clash with The UConn Blog is RIGHT HERE.

UConn! Good to have you back on the schedule, my dudes! Can I have my laptop back?

Sure, it's from 2006 though so it might be a bit outdated now. Do you have any idea how long ago 2006 was? I mean, people in 2006 thought JTIII would be a good coach.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of this year's Huskies? Who should Georgetown fans watch out for on this team?

In theory it should be Daniel Hamilton. He's by far UConn's most complete player, their best passer, their best scorer, and arguably their best rebounder. The only problem is that he has been in a horrific shooting slump, shooting just 25% from the field, including just six of 23 from behind the arc in his last six games. Not coincidentally, this slump coincided with the injury of center Amida Brimah (more on this below). Brimah drew a lot of attention down low, which opened up the mid-range, and Hamilton would throw an alley-oop his way (roughly 19 per game) whenever he got in trouble, so his biggest safety valve was removed. Rodney Purvis is the team's best scorer, but he's been slumping too of late (and even lost his starting spot for half a minute).

Seton Hall transfer Sterling Gibbs has had the hot hand of late, especially from deep, and bruising power forward Shonn Miller (a Cornell transfer) has been doing work in the post, so I would keep an eye on them. It is probably worth noting that Gibbs had a lot of personal success against Georgetown, though generally in losing efforts, because Seton Hall. If Gibbs and Miller are both on, and Hamilton and Purvis are able to do something, or anything really, the Huskies should fare well.

So how's AAC life treating you? I assume you have one foot in and one foot out searching for a Power 5 home? What's your prediction of where UConn will be in the next couple of years?

We have given up on projecting what will happen, but dear lord do we want out of the AAC badly. The hot rumor a few weeks ago was that the Big XII wanted us. Not sure if that actually makes sense, but if the Connecticut born and bred Bush family can pretend to be Texans, so can we.

Do you think Kevin Ollie capitalized on the recruiting front after UConn's recent National Championship? I would think the Huskies would have landed a bunch of top recruits and be a consistent Top 10 program after that win but it seems that hasn't happened.

We do. He's been killing it on the transfer front, and though the guys coming out of high school until now have not been the sexiest recruits, the future looks bright. Next year's class is currently ranked in the Top 5 (it has four 4 Star players), and this week he signed up 5 Star center Zach Brown for 2017. Apparently it's easier to recruit studs when you start talking to them after you win a national championship, as opposed to when you have a short-term contract and no one knows if you're going to be any good. Funny how that works.

Thoughts on the new, post-realignment Big East? Do you want to drop your football program & come join us?

And give up the shrine to Bob Diaco's beautiful hair that I may or may not have in my bedroom closet? I think not. I would be happy to play Villanova and Georgetown, and I guess Marquette, but a lot of the new additions don't move the needle for me, and the rest of the "old" Big East teams are generally garbage. As at least a partial product of a Jesuit education, I miss some of you guys, but I have no desire to associate with those Dominicans in Rhode Island.

Settle a debate for us. Best burger chain of the following: In-N-Out, Five Guys, Shake Shack and justify your answer.

Five Guys. Big, juicy, and all the toppings you could want. The fries are killer too, and free peanuts! Shake Shack is fine, but I don't find it that remarkable and the lines in New York kill me unless you go to the bizarrely deserted Grand Central location. In-N-Out is even more meh than Shake Shack, the fries aren't good, the secret menu is just a glorified version of Burger King's "have it your way" marketing, and the west coast can generally go and pound sand.

Seen any of the Academy Award nominees yet? Do you have a pick for Best Picture?

Only Mad Max (awesome), The Martian (very very good), and The Revenant (nope -- I like my Terrance Malick movies to be made by Terrance Malick thank you very much). That said, UConn has started a not at all questionable marketing push to suggest that UConn is New York's Sixth Borough, so I suppose we should throw our support behind our beloved next door neighbor Brooklyn (you can walk right over!).

When you look at the schedule, which of UConn's new AAC "rivals" makes you just rub your eyes and say "What the F?" East Carolina? Central Florida? (Ed. note: Georgetown's is still DePaul, even though they're not new.)

Tulane. God it kills us to watch us play basketball against Tulane. The only thing they could possibly be good for would be putting the AAC Tournament in New Orleans. Which the AAC refuses to do. It is in Orlando for the next two years. Kill me.

Also, sorry to be impolite, but East Carolina is not a member of the AAC. Everyone gets confused about that because UConn schedules them in every sport for some reason (sometimes for multiple games in the same season), but they are definitely in Conference USA.

The Huskies have been without starting center and shot-blocker extraordinaire Amidah Brimah for a month or so now. When is he coming back, and how has his absence affected UConn?

He was originally expected to be out until mid- to late-February, but reports have been good, so let's say Valentines day. UConn is hosting undefeated SMU on February 18th, so ideally he will be back by then. Brimah is a shot blocking machine with cinder blocks for hands, and a post game that is mostly finishing alley-oops, so naturally UConn's offensive efficiency has gone in the toilet since he has been out, and the defensive efficiency has skyrocketed. Basketball is weird, so I cannot be certain why, but I suspect it is a combination of two things: 1) as it happens, converting alley-oops regularly is a very efficient way to play offense, and 2) I suspect the rest of the team either slacks off, or takes too many gambles on defense when they know they have a seven-foot block monster behind them to clean up their messes.

What's the ceiling on this year's Huskies? Where do you realistically see them finishing?

I have not wavered in my year-long belief that UConn is somewhere between the 20th and 25th best team in the country. I thought that when they started off looking good, and I thought it last week when the Brimah-less Huskies lost to Temple and Tulsa with only a squeaker home win over Memphis in between.

With that in mind, the Sweet 16 seems like a reasonable goal. But given the state of college basketball this year, the tournament will be heavily seed and matchup dependent. It would not be the first time if an otherwise questionable UConn team got some good opponents and put together a serious run.

How would you rank these former UConnvicts in terms of their current NBA play: Rudy Gay, Kemba Walker, Andre Drummond? Bonus question: What do you think Jake Voskuhl is doing at this very moment?

You have to put Drummond first, though the heart is pulling for Kemba. It is nice that Rudy has had a nice little career renaissance in Sacremento after being public enemy number 1 for basketball bloggers a few years ago, however. As for Voskuhl, I can only assume he is sleeping on the pile of money he made by inexplicably playing in the NBA for nine years.

Syracuse still sucks. No question here.

Yes, but you have to be careful, because if you tell them they're No. 1 in sucking, they'll probably fire up the t-shirt presses again.

Final score prediction?

Everyone always remembers their first time, so let's go with 77-74, the score of UConn's first national championship game. To be honest, I can't remember the scores for all the other national titles we've won. It's just so hard. Sometimes I think it would be nice not to have that problem, so I am a bit jealous of you guys.