Huskies-Tigers, Take II

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UConn’s Rodney Purvis hoists a few jumpers (with mint green sneakers) after practice Friday.

If you can tear yourself away from your sweetheart long enough, let’s talk some hoops.

No. 24 UConn takes on No. 20 Memphis Saturday afternoon in Hartford.

A few notes and quotes from the particulars:

— UCONN SOPHOMORE GUARD Omar Calhoun (concussion) did not practice Friday with the team. He did do some running and shooting on the side while the Huskies worked out.

“It’s day-to-day. His symptoms have improved. He’s been out there running a little bit, doing the bike,” Ollie said. “It’s probably 60 percent he won’t play but we’ll see in the morning.”

Senior forward Tyler Olander (flu) did practice and seems fine. He’s certainly available to play Saturday.

— AS OUR GOOD friend Gavin Keefe points out, UConn is 1-3 against the top four teams in the AAC (Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis and SMU).

“It’s always important to defend our home court. We have to defend and protect,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “I don’t care if that’s USF, I don’t care if that’s Cincinnati, I don’t care if that’s Memphis, I don’t care if that’s anybody. We have to defend our home court to be the best team we can be. And then we have to steal some on the road, which we’ve already done.

“If we take care of games, we’ll move up. We’re playing against the teams that are ahead of us. If we take care of business, we’ll move up in the standings,” Ollie said.

“Down the stretch this is when we have to get the wins,” DeAndre Daniels said. “We have tough games coming up with Cincinnati and SMU. We have to win these games, yeah.”

— MEMPHIS HAS WON seven of its last eight games since losing to UConn 83-73 on Jan. 16 at FedExForum.

Rebounding and transition defense are keys in the rematch, it seems.

“Twenty-eight percent of their points come in transition. And 11 percent come off offensive rebounds,” Ollie said. “So we’re going to have to do a good job on the boards and get back in defensive transition. Hopefully they play against five guys.”

— DANIELS HAS BEEN battling a sprained ankle and a bad back, even saying his back was a little stiff, but Ollie dismissed such worried.

“Oh, he’s just a baby,” Ollie said with a smile. “He’s OK.”

— MEMPHIS FRESHMAN CENTER Dominic Woodson didn’t travel with the team to Connecticut and obviously won’t play this weekend.

Woodson was suspended by coach Josh Pastner for excessive bad language in Wednesday’s game against UCF.

Woodson is averaging 2.6 points per game and plays an average of 7.3 minutes per game.

— FOR THOSE OF you care about such things, Mike Patrick is doing another UConn game. He’s been behind the mic for four straight Husky games, I believe.

The game is on ESPN.

— THIS IS MEMPHIS’ first trip to Connecticut for a game. The Tigers have made three previous trips to New England: At Providence in 05-06, at UMass (Worcester) in 95-96 and vs. UMass in Boston in 09-10.

— THIS WILL BE the first college game in his hometown for Memphis freshman Kuran Iverson.

The former Northwest Catholic High standout, who once upon a time was recruited by the Huskies, is averaging 2.6 points and 1.8 rebounds this season for the Tigers.

— HIS NATIVE COUNTRY is doing rather well in the Olympics, especially in the luge, so has UConn F Niels Giffey watched any of the action from Sochi?

“Just a little bit on the side,” Giffey said. “I hear we (Germany) are killing it.”

So what events does Giffey enjoy watching? Hockey? Curling?

“Definitely not curling,” Giffey said.

“Germany is pretty good at all the weird competitions, the bob (bobsled) and the double bob,” Giffey said. “It’s not too exciting to watch.”

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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