STORRS, Connecticut (Ticker) -- No. 7 Connecticut begins
defense of its national championship Saturday against Buffalo at
The Huskies lost three key players from last season's squad in
center Emeka Okafor and guards Ben Gordon and Taliek Brown, but
still figure to contend for another title this season.In addition to returning forwards Josh Boone and Charlie
Villanueva in the frontcourt, coach Jim Calhoun can turn to
highly touted freshman forward Rudy Gay, who was named the
preseason Big East Rookie of the Year.Connecticut has not lost a home opener in 18 seasons under
Calhoun. The Huskies have not lost their first home contest
since 1982, and never have lost the home opener at Gampel
Pavilion.Buffalo won eight of its final nine games last season en route
posting a 17-12 record, completing a huge turnaround from
2002-03, when it finished 5-23.Turner Battle led the team in scoring, averaging 14.3 points.
He again is expected to be the primary offensive threat.Connecticut has won four of five meetings with Buffalo, although
the two schools have not faced each other since 1951, when the
Bulls posted a 65-58 victory.