As for the basketball game….

UConn, as a program, hasn’t had the best day. Still, there’s a game against Syracuse Saturday to think about.

We had a chance to catch up with interim/acting coach George Blaney a few minutes ago at their hotel:

— Blaney didn’t offer any comments on UConn’s denial of a postseason waiver by the NCAA.

“I don’t really have a reaction,” Blaney said.

He was asked about all the “drama” that has surrounded UConn this season, including Jim Calhoun’s health, Ryan Boatright’s eligibility, the NCAA issues, etc. and how it might have impacted the team.

“I always think you lose games because of how you played and how the other team played,” Blaney said. “Whether or not some of these things go into altering how we prepare or how we play that night, possibly those things affect it. But that’s what good teams overcome. We had some pretty good adversity things last year and we were able to overcome that. This team is still learning how to do that.”

— Blaney says head coach Jim Calhoun is “better” but doesn’t know when he might return.

“I’ve been talking to him mostly two times a day, usually before and after practice,” Blaney said. “He sounds better. I think he’s getting closer and the doctors are getting closer to determining what they’re going to do.

“He still is in pain. He still has trouble getting around a lot. But he certainly sounds better to me,” Blaney added.

— Blaney talked about playing an actual full game Saturday, as opposed to a good half or part.

“We have to make sure we’re in the game the whole game, not just 25 minutes or 30 minutes,” Blaney said.

— Obviously a big game against a very, very good Orange team.

“It’s always fun to play against him (Jim Boeheim) because they’re so competitive and they’re always so talented,” Blaney said. “And this looks like one of his most talented teams.”

— UConn, Blaney said, will keep the same starting lineup it has used recently: Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, Jeremy Lamb, Tyler Olander and Andre Drummond.

— As for the Louisville effort, Blaney said again what he did Monday.

“We were all embarrassed after the game,” Blaney said.

— Blaney noticed what a lot of us have on this trip. It doesn’t really look like Syracuse right now.

“No snow in Syracuse? In 40 years of coming here that might be a first,” Blaney said. “And that’s in the summer time, too.”

— In case you’re wondering why we have no reaction from the UConn players tonight, none were made available by the school. Kind of stinks but anyway…



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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