Huskies and Eagles getting together, mass hysteria! (not really)

Sorry that the blog’s been quiet as the season gets under way. A few technical and logistical issues kept me away.

Anyway, on with the UConn basketball season and regular updates.

Today we had a chance to speak with the coaches participating in the 2K Sports Classic this week at Madison Square Garden. As expected, not a lot of venom from UConn’s Kevin Ollie and BC coach Steve Donahue on the renewal of the rivalry between their teams. Neither was around for the first wave of defections from the Big East. UPDATE: Donahue didn’t make it on the conference call. Apparently too busy.

UConn and BC face off Thursday night, their first meeting since Jan. 5, 2005. The Eagles, of course, departed for the ACC after that season.

A few notes on the matchups and words from the particulars:

— OLLIE REMEMBERED THE UConn-BC rivalry fondly and would like to see it re-started.

“I would love to rekindle that rivalry,” Ollie said.

Ollie pointed out that his Huskies were 8-0 against BC in his tenure.

“One thing I do remember is we had some great guards and they had some great guards. It was always a battle,” Ollie said.

His favorite game was a big comeback.

“I think we were down by like 29 or 30 and came back,” Ollie said before adding: “I might be exaggerating a bit. I get that from coach (Jim) Calhoun.”

— OLLIE TALKED A bit about going back to Madison Square Garden and NYC.

“We love the challenge. We love going back to the city. We’ve had the luxury of playing there a lot of years,” Ollie said. “We’re always going to try to schedule a game down in New York or two games in New York.”

— THE EAGLES ACTUALLY lost to Toledo in the opening round of the 2K Sports Classic but the event is not an actual tournament and the Eagles’ place in New York was secure regardless of the result of the first two games.

— UCONN AND BC have played 89 times previously, with the Huskies winning 54 of those. UConn won 23 straight from 1988-2001.

Only Syracuse (91) Maine (98), UMass (108), New Hampshire (116) and Rhode Island (145) have seen the Huskies more often than BC.

— UCONN MOVED UP one spot to No. 18 in the Associated Press rankings released on Monday. Ho-hum, I guess.

— INDIANA COACH Tom Crean had a few words about the Huskies, who he might (probably will) face on Friday.

“UConn in general is extremely talented and deep. There’s no question about that,” Crean said.

Crean mentioned Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels and Niels Giffey by name.

“There’s always somebody that is going to come and make plays for them,” Crean said.

Crean has seen UConn plenty, most of which while he was head coach at Marquette.

“Jim Calhoun, still to this day, doesn’t get enough credit for what he did to change the landscape there and what he did for college basketball,” Crean said.

— WASHINGTON COACH Lorenzo Romar faced the Huskies last year. He’ll see them next month in Seattle and there’s a chance he’ll play them Friday, too.

“I was so impressed with their guards, obviously. I remember they were really good defensively when we played them (last year). It was hard for us to get good looks at the basket,” Romar said.



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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