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November 22, 2013

Peegs.com pregame: Indiana vs. UConn

NEW YORK - The headline for tonight's game is obvious: Yogi vs. Shabazz.

Two of the nation's top point guards, Indiana sophomore Yogi Ferrell and Connecticut senior Shabazz Napier, lead their teams into tonight's championship game of the 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Wounded Warrior Project.

The two 5-0 teams square off in Madison Square Garden in a game scheduled to tip-off around 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2).

Here some of the key storylines to watch tonight:

Yogi vs. Shabazz: Ferrell and Napier both have been terrific early in the season for their respective teams, and if there's anything New York likes, it's a good guard battle.

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Napier leads the Huskies in scoring (14.8), rebounding (8.4), assists (6.6) and steals (1.4).

The 6-foot, 178-pound Ferrell leads the Hoosiers in scoring (19.6), 3-pointers made per game (2.8) and assists (4.6).

Ferrell has a current string of three consecutive 20-point games.

Napier is the only UConn player with two triple-doubles. He had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Huskies' 80-62 win over Yale on Nov. 11. As a sophomore, Napier had 22 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists against Coppin State.

Napier is fifth in the country this season in assists per game at 7.8.

"We do a lot of switching and we do a lot of different things, but it's going to be big," IU coach Tom Crean said of the Ferrell-Napier matchup. "Whoever is on Napier has got to ... you are responsible for him. But that is why we do our rebounding drills, and that's why we really talk a lot about stick and pursue, and now it's got to carry out. But I can't point to anybody that we've played against recently that rebounds the ball like he does. But again, they're so good. They can play off one another. They've done a great job."

Daniels vs. Vonleh: The frontcourt matchup looks like it could be a strong one as well.

Indiana 6-foot-10 freshman Noah Vonleh started his college career with four consecutive double-doubles, had 18 points and nine rebounds Thursday against Washington and is averaging 15.4 points and 11.8 rebounds.

DeAndre Daniels, a 6-foot-9 junior, had 23 points and six rebounds in UConn's 72-70 win over Boston College Thursday night.

After eight points combined the first two games of the season, Daniels has scored 47 combined the past two.

"He stayed in the game and that's what it's all about," Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie said. "He did not make any excuses for himself. We have a motto: You do not look out the window, you look in the mirror. He stayed in the gym and got ready and focused. He will be aggressive and everyone goes through a slump. If you keep working on your craft, that's when you become great."

UConn's Balance: The Huskies currently have five players scoring in double figures.

In addition to Napier (14.8) and Daniels (13.2), junior guard Ryan Boatright is averaging 12.0, sophomore 6-foot-6 guard Omar Calhoun 11.4 and senior forward Niels Giffey 10.2.

The details: Indiana (5-0 and ranked 22nd in the coaches poll) vs. Connecticut (5-0 and ranked 18th in the coaches poll) at Madison Square Garden at approximately 7:30 p.m. TV: ESPN2 (John Saunders, Fran Fraschilla, Jeff Goodman). Radio: IU radio network (Don Fischer, Royce Waltman, Joe Smith).



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