Huskies, minus Wolf, eye Orange

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Former UConn forward Donny Marshall works with freshman Phil Nolan after practice at Gampel Pavilion Tuesday. Nolan could see a significant increase in playing time with Enosch Wolf out. (Neill Ostrout photo)

Greetings from Gampel Pavilion where the Huskies have just finished practice Tuesday. UConn is getting set for Wednesday’s game against Syracuse in Hartford.

And, as you surely know, they will be without the service of junior center Enosch Wolf. Wolf was arrested Monday after a domestic incident on campus.

Unlike the Huskies who are losing one, the Orange have ADDED a player recently. Senior big man James Southerland recently won an appeal and is now academically eligible.

— ALL OF THIS comes as UConn and Syracuse get set for their final meeting as Big East foes, and probably their final meeting for some time.

UConn coach Kevin Ollie had no specific comments on Wolf’s situation.

“I’m not going to make a comment on Enosch’s situation. I’m going to let the legal process take care of itself,” Ollie said.

As for the Huskies’ rotation?

“Next guy steps up,” Ollie said. “We go forward.”

He did not really answer when asked if Wolf would play for the Huskies again at some point.

“He is suspended indefinitely,” Ollie said.

But Wolf is not around for practice and other team activities, right?

“He is suspended indefinitely. He’s not around so you can make your own conclusions.”

— THE SYRACUSE game is especially memorable for Ollie, not just because he played for the Huskies against the Orange many times.

“I grew up watching Syracuse and Connecticut playing,” Ollie said. “The reason why I came to Connecticut is because Stevie Thompson was from my high school and he chose Syracuse. So at Crenshaw I was always a fan of Syracuse. Seeing Connecticut, seeing the Big East, seeing Georgetown, you hate to see it come to an end. But it’s part of life and you have to move on.”

— IT’S OBVIOUSLY a big game to the Huskies.

“I’d be a liar to say that it wasn’t,” Ryan Boatright said. “It’s rivalry week. The fans are excited, the students are excited. It’s important to us.”

— ALTHOUGH OBVIOUSLY Tyler Olander will see increased playing time with Wolf out, Phil Nolan could see the court quite a bit, too.

The freshman big man has yet to score his first points in Big East play (six games). He’s averaging 1.1 points overall.

Olander will likely be feeling the most pressure but he said “no” when asked if basketball life just got tougher for him.

“Not really. I’m still playing my same role. It’s up to Phil Nolan and Leon (Tolksdorf) to step up. And guys like Niels (Giffey) to continue to play well.”

— GRAD STUDENT guard R.J. Evans missed the second half of Tuesday’s practice. He’s got a class Tuesday (and Thursday) late in the afternoon that forces him to miss some workouts.

— THE HUSKIES ARE 2-2 against ranked teams this season, beating No. 14 Michigan State and No. 17 Notre Dame, while losing to No. 1 Louisville and No. 25 N.C. State.

— UCONN IS 17-18 all-time against Syracuse at home. The breakdown of games is interesting, as one of the buildings no longer exists and another hasn’t seen a college basketball game in 23 years.

UConn is 1-6 against the Orange at the UConn Field House, 1-2 at the New Haven Coliseum, 4-1 at Gampel Pavilion and 11-9 at the XL Center (nee Hartford Civic Center).

The numbers are little closer when counted after the Big East was founded in 1979. Since then, UConn is 16-11 at home against the Orange.

Still, UConn hasn’t won in this state against Syracuse since 2009 and hasn’t beaten the Orange in Hartford since 2006.

— OVERALL, SYRACUSE leads the all-time series 54-36. It’s 37-32 Orange since the Big East was formed in 1979.

UConn has lost six of the last seven games between the teams, dating back to the six-overtime game in 2009.

— OF NOTE, UConn’s win over Seton Hall on Sunday assured it of a winning season. That makes it 26 straight years over .500 for the Huskies.

The last sub-.500 season at UConn came in Jim Calhoun’s first season, a 9-19 effort in 1986-87.

— A BRIEF PROGRAMMING note, the ESPN crew calling the game Wednesday will be Brent Musburger and Jimmy Dykes.

Bob Knight was originally supposed to be on hand but according to a UConn spokesman he had a medical procedure that forced him to skip this game.

Neill

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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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