Huskies hit the road for ND: Olander hurting, Daniels starting

About to leave Storrs follwing a Thursday morning practice at Gampel Pavilion. A few notes before we do:

— Seventeenth-ranked UConn (13-3, 3-2) is getting ready for a Saturday morning game at Notre Dame. The Irish haven’t lost in 30 games at the Joyce Center (Purcell) so it obviously won’t be easy for the Huskies to previal.

— PF Tyler Olander didn’t practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a right heel contusion. He’s questionable for Saturday’s game.

Apparently Olander injured the foot against West Virginia.

— Coach Jim Calhoun said SF DeAndre Daniels will return to the starting lineup Saturday, displacing Niels Giffey.

“DeAndre’s had two really good days,” Calhoun said.

— The Big East is crazy. We all know this. Pittsburgh and Louisville may had the biggest surprise results but there have been a lot.

“It shows you what can happen to any team in this league,” Calhoun said. “For them (Pitt) to put up 39 is beyond my belief. They’re a really good basketball team.”

— Is it good thing that UConn was able to win without Shabazz Napier scoring a point?

“Is it good thing? It’s not good for my blood pressure, I know that much,” Calhoun said.

Napier isn’t sweating it, it seems.

“I didn’t realize,” Napier said. “And I didn’t really care, to be honest. I don’t look at how much I score; I look at how much we score.”

— Napier, who is rarely at a loss for words (sportswriter’s dream, in many ways), had a rather obvious but nice-to-see-they-realize statement Thursday.

“To be honest, we’d be undefeated if we didn’t turn the ball over a lot,” Napier said. “I feel that has to do with Ryan (Boatright), myself and some of the teammates. Every game we lost, it was because we had bad turnovers.”

— Napier’s comments following the Rutgers game about UConn’s leadership void were a little surprising and just a little bit cutting.

He’s sort of changed his tune on that front.

“I’m not even worried about that no more,” Napier said. “If it happens, it happens. We’ll find a leader sooner or later. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. We’re going to win games and lose games without a leader. I just feel as if we play team basketball, we should be fine.”

— Napier’s injured foot apparently isn’t a problem.

“Nah, it’s fine. I’m not worried about it,” Napier said.

— Calhoun obviously isn’t a big fan of the early start on Saturday.

“I’m not crazy about it,” Calhoun said. “I continue to say it’s a bad idea for everyone involved. Nine o’clock (p.m.) games are bad people and so I think are 11 o’clock (a.m.) games.”

— Boatright, who grew up in Aurora, Ill., said he has about 400 family members and friends planning to make the 1.5- or 2-hour drive to South Bend for Saturday’s game.



About Neill

Neill Ostrout covers the UConn men's basketball team for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester. He has been a member of the "Horde" for more than 16 years.
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