STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- No. 14 Connecticut starts a friendly schedule to open its season on Saturday night when it hosts state rival Quinnipiac.
Connecticut (0-0) went 27-7 a year ago and lost star player Caron Butler to the NBA. The Huskies return three starters and the centerpiece is 6-9 sophomore Emeka Okafor, who emerged as a shot blocker in the middle.
This is one of eight homes games Connecticut has in its first nine contests. The only road game the Huskies have in November and December is at Vanderbilt on December 1.
Coach Jim Calhoun may decide on a three-guard lineup featuring senior Tony Robertson, junior Taliek Brown and sophomore Ben Gordon. Butler's place in the lineup may be taken by heralded Canadian freshman Denham Brown, who once scored over 100 points in a high school game.
Quinnipiac is in its fifth season of Division I basketball and went 14-16 a year ago, finishing in seventh place in the Northeast Conference. The Braves' best player is Rob Monroe, who won NEC Rookie of the Year last season with a 13.1 scoring average.
The Huskies are 3-0 against the Braves and are 19-0 all-time in Gampel Pavilion home openers. Connecticut posted a 95-79 victory in last season's meeting.