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Following practice on Monday, UConn coach Kevin Ollie previewed his team’s Big East home opener against DePaul on Tuesday night in Storrs.
Check out the attached video.
Ollie also addressed a few other topics.
Here’s what Ollie and the Huskies had to say:
-- Ollie said that he received an apology from Big East commissioner Mike Aresco and league coordinator of men’s basketball officiating Art Hyland for the referees’ error that cost UConn two points at the start of overtime in an 82-76 loss at Marquette on Jan. 1.
“It’s over with,” Ollie said. “Satisfied or not, it doesn’t make a difference. I talked to the commissioner (Mike Aresco) and talked with the head of officials (Art Hyland), and they apologized. I accept their apology.
“We move on. Things happen. Hopefully, we learned from it and our guys learned from the situation.”
-- Ollie called an improved DePaul “a great team.”
That’s a stretch.
But the Blue Demons (10-5, 1-1) are definitely improved, needing only three more wins to top last year’s overall victory total. They are a surprising 4-0 in true road games, beating Providence, ArizonaState, Chicago State and Auburn.
“It’s a good, talented team and we’re going to have to come and play,” Ollie said. “They’re feeling really good about themselves and they should be happy with their performance so far.”
DePaul’s Big East loss came against Seton Hall, 73-72. Sophomore Ryan Boatright watched that game on television.
“They really should be 2-0,” Boatright said. “I feel like they’re a better team than last year. We’ve just got to come and compete and don’t take them lightly.”
-- While UConn's guard rotation is set, the frontcourt is still a bit unsettled, especially with the big men. Juniors Tyler Olander and Enosch Wolf remain inconsistent but continue to see regular action. Freshman Phillip Nolan is another option.
There’s one sure way to win Ollie’s heart and earn playing time.
“If you’re not rebounding, you’re not playing…,” Ollie said. “Hopefully, they understand the message. I can’t say we’ve got a set pattern because if you’re not getting rebounds, you’re coming out. If you’re not playing hard, you’re coming out.”
The Huskies have been out-rebounded in all but two games this season.
Junior Shabazz Napier, a 6-foot-1 guard, is the team’s leading rebounder at 4.2 per game.
-- UConn is still waiting for a reliable third scorer to emerge to help lift some of the offensive burden from Napier and Boatright. They’ve accounted for 33.3 of UConn’s 71.1 points per game average.
Sophomore DeAndre Daniels is a prime candidate. He’s scored in double figures in four of the last five games to raise his scoring average to 10.1 points. He continues to work on his game.
“We’re in the film room and we’re in the lab trying to get him better and he’s accepting coaching very, very well,” Ollie said.
-- For regular UConn updates, follow me on Twitter @GavinKeefe
Today’s American Athletic Conference Championship semifinal doubleheader is underway here at the XL Center in Hartford. A crowd in the 12,000-13,000 range is expected for the UConn-Tulsa game. Tip-off time is 5 p.m.