Men's Basketball: Before Memphis, Huskies focus on Bulls of USF
Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 23:02
With another big conference game looming on Saturday against No. 20 Memphis, the 24th-ranked UConn men’s basketball team (18-5, 6-4 American) wants to take care of the business right in front of them first, and that comes in the form of USF (12-12, 3-8 American) when the two sides square off at the XL Center on Wednesday.
“We can’t look ahead,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “We’re not that good to look ahead because our margin of error is not that big. So we’ve got to make sure we take care of business. We learned that when we played Houston and SMU the first couple of games.”
USF has previously beaten the now-No. 23 SMU, but also dropped its last game against the 10-14 Rutgers at home. Nevertheless, Ollie stressed to the Huskies not to overlook their opponent.
“If you underestimate them, they can beat you on any given night,” Ollie said. “We’ve got to respect that. We’ve got to respect the game and how you respect your opponent is to play hard.”
The Bulls do not score a lot, and their 63.4 points per game average ranks at dead last in the 10-team conference. In order for the Huskies to avoid to upset, however, containing USF’s senior forward Victor Rudd will be key.
“That’s a high-flyer that’s doing a lot for them,” said Ollie on Rudd, who leads the Bulls with 15.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
UConn junior forward DeAndre Daniels also said the game plan is to “pack it in the paint” with USF being a poor shooting team at just 42 percent from the field and 25 percent from beyond the arc.
Last season, USF gave UConn some trouble in their two meetings, dropping an overtime game at Gampel Pavilion, 69-64, but also handed the Huskies their second-worst loss of the season with a 65-51 victory in Tampa, Fla., though Shabazz Napier did not play in that game due to a foot injury.
The Huskies could be without Omar Calhoun this time around. The sophomore guard suffered a concussion in the team’s last game against UCF on the road and was held out of practice on Tuesday.
“He’s day-to-day,” Ollie said on Calhoun. “His symptoms are much better now than they were yesterday. So hopefully he keeps getting better so we can get him out there as soon as possible.”
Tipoff for Wednesday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2 with Mike Patrick and Kara Lawson on the call.