‘Cats and Dogs living together…mass hysteria’

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UConn guard Shabazz Napier speaks to reporters after practice Wednesday.

Just about to leave Gampel Pavilion following UConn’s practice.

A few words from the particulars as the Huskies get ready for Thursday night’s clash with Cincinnati at the XL Center:

— UCONN HAS HAD five days to chew on its loss to Villanova, a game in which it committed 19 turnovers and allowed 20 offensive rebounds.

What has to be different against the Bearcats?

“Just effort and attitude,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said Thursday.

Have you seen that so far in practice?

“Yup, not enough though. We have to get better,” Ollie said. “Hopefully we continue to do that but it has to be at another level.”

“When it comes down to it, it’s all about rebounding,” Ollie said. “Hopefully we can rebound a little bit better than we showed against Villanova.”

— IT’S THE FIRST meeting between the teams since Cincinnati’s dramatic win in Storrs last season.

Shabazz Napier scored a then-career best 27 points and hit a dramatic 3-pointer with 10 seconds left to tie the game. But Cincy’s Sean Kilpatrick trumped Napier’s effort with a 3-pointer of his own some seven seconds later that gave the Bearcats a 70-67 win.

— DON’T EXPECT A performance like the one he provided against Villanova from Ryan Boatright again. At least, that’s what he says.

“I wasn’t Ryan Boatright that game,” Boatright said of four-point, five-turnover performance. “I just had a bad game. It happens to everybody. You have to bounce back and move on.”

“I’m not going to play like that again,” Boatright added.

Boatright and Shabazz Napier combined for just six points against Nova.

“They just have to play basketball. I don’t think that was the first team that really honed in our guards. I think every team is doing that,” Ollie said. “They have to adjust, they have to make improvements. We have to rebound better and we can get those guys out in transition, too.”

— THE HUSKIES WILL be without C Enosch Wolf for a third straight game. His suspension will likely last for the remainder of the season but Ollie didn’t say as much Wednesday.

When asked if his status will change, Ollie said:

“I have no idea. He’s suspended indefinitely,” Ollie said. “I said my comments to him and my comments in the paper. I’m sticking by those.”

— THIS IS THE first of two meetings over the next nine days for the teams. UConn visits Cincinnati on March 2.

— BOATRIGHT AND KILPATRICK are pretty good friends, it seems.

“Kilpatrick, that’s my man. We were at camp all summer together,” Boatright said, referring to Chris Paul’s camp. “Me and him are real good friends.”

— CINCINNATI HAS WON 13 of its last 17 games away from home. The Bearcats are 8-2 away from home this season.

— ONE OF THE bright spots for the Huskies against Nova was the play of freshman F Leon Tolksdorf.

Tolksdorf came in and hit a pair of 3-pointers, nearly doubling his season-total in points.

He won’t necessarily play as much against Cincinnati but you never know.

“I know Leon’s going to be ready. That’s the key thing,” Ollie said.

“I thought we needed a spark (against Nova). I brought Leon in, I wanted some effort and he contributed,” Ollie said.

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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