Most college basketball coaches would like an enforcer, a player who stands perhaps 6-foot-8, weighs maybe 230 pounds and can instill fear into the opposition by swatting shots, dunking and rebounding recklessly.
The Connecticut Huskies have two enforcers -- 6-11, 250-pound center Chuch Aleksinas and 6-8, 230-pound Corny Thompson.
They are the biggest reasons Connecticut is ranked No. 1 in the East and 20th nationally with a 12-2 record (3-2 in the Big East) and favored to beat Georgetown (11-7, 3-2) here at the Field House, Saturday at 1 p.m.
Aleksinas, who sat out last year after transferring from overloaded Kentucky, is averaging 15 points per game and seven rebounds, while shooting 64.5 percent, 10th best in the nation.
His presence has allowed Thompson, the conference's leading rebounder last year with 9.3 per game, to move to his natural forward position, where he has been a terror. Thompson is leading the team with 15.1 points and nine rebounds.
Last year's starting center, 6-9, 230-pound sophomore Bruce Kuczenski, now comes off the bench. With all three in the lineup, Huskies' Coach Dom Perno can play a gargantuan lineup -- just the kind that gives Georgetown fits.
Aleksinas and Thompson led the Huskies to 11 straight victories before recent road losses to Big East foes Boston College and Villanova. The team finished 20-9 last season and qualified for the NIT, but expectations around the campus and the state are running higher this season.
The 4,600-seat Field House, one of the Huskies' three home courts around the state, has been sold out for more than a month in expectation of a titanic clash. But many of the area basketball followers will be disappointed to see a Georgetown team that still is struggling to reach its potential and live up to preseason expectations.
The Hoyas will need their best front-line performance of the season to defeat Connecticut. Center Ed Spriggs (sprained ankle) and forward Eric Smith (hyperextended left elbow) are expected to start but both may be slowed by their injuries.
Seven-foot Georgetown center Mike Frazier and 6-9 freshman Ray Knight may have to play more than usual if the Hoyas are to wear down the sturdy Aleksinas.
If the Hoyas are to pull an upset they must improve their foul shooting, where they've been successful only 59 percent of the time in conference games. Connecticut is No. 1 in the nation in foul shooting at 77.8 percent.