Pre-game preview, video: Rutgers
This is UConn's last conference road trip to Rutgers, which is headed to the Big Ten next season.
It should be a great atmosphere tonight at the Rutgers Athletic Center, which is sold-out for the American Athletic Conference game.
The Huskies lost their last trip there in January 2012.
"It is a tough environment," coach Kevin Ollie said. "But if we play our basketball, I like our chances."
Check out the attached video of Ollie's post-practice remarks on Friday.
Here's a pre-game preview:
-- Tip-off time: 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
-- Records: UConn 15-4, 3-3;Rutgers 8-11, 2-4
-- Last game: UConn beat Temple, 90-66, Tuesday; Rutgers lost at SMU, 70-56, Tuesday
UConn, 6-0 jr. guard Ryan Boatright (12.3 pts, 3.6 assists), 6-1 sr. guard Shabazz Napier (17.4 pts, 5.9 assists, 6.2 rebs), 6-8 jr. forward DeAndre Daniels (13.7 pts, 5.6 rebs), 6-6 grad. forward Lasan Kromah (6.9 pts, 2.7 rebs), 7-foot fr. center Amida Brimah (3.7 pts, 2.6 rebs, 2.6 blks)
Rutgers, 5-9 jr. guard Myles Mack (16.5 pts), 6-6 sr. guard J.J. Moore (11.5 pts, 3.4 rebs), 6-7 fr. forward Junior Etou (5.4 pts, 4.7 rebs), 6-9 jr. forward Kadeem Jack (13 pts, 6.7 rebs), 6-9 sr. forward Wally Judge (8.3 pts, 6.9 rebs).
-- During his NBA career, Ollie played for New Jersey Nets when Rutgerscoach Eddie Jordan was an assistant coach on Byron Scott's staff.
Jordan wanted to sign Ollie when he became the head coach for the Washington Wizards in 2003 but met resistance from general manager Wes Unseld.
"He said, `We have a pretty good amount of money for a free agent, who would you like to get?' "
"I said, `Kevin Ollie.' "
"He said, `Kevin Ollie? We've got some other guys ranked higher than Kevin Ollie.' "
"I said, "I want Kevin Ollie.' "
"Obviously, it didn't work out. We got Gilbert Arenas, so that worked out pretty good. Kevin went and played for the Sixers."
-- The Huskies have won four of last five. The Scarlet Knights have lost four of five.
-- Series: UConn leads 35-14, winning 11 of the last 12 games including 66-54 in last meeting on Jan. 27, 2013 in Hartford.
-- The Huskies lost last trip to the RAC, 67-60, Jan. 7, 2012. Daniels remembers the game as much for the outcome as for his sideline "altercation" with an angry coach Jim Calhoun.
Calhoun grabbed Daniels on the sidelines.
"We took a loss in there and it was pretty tough," Daniels said. "The crowd was pretty loud in there. I remember me and Calhoun got into a little altercation.
"… We've just got to come out and play our game.
-- Top reserve: junior. guard Jerome Seagears (8.9 pts, 2.8 rebs).
-- A win would give the Huskies a winning AAC mark for first time this season.
-- Hot: Napier is averaging 28.5 points and shooting 10-for-18 from 3-point range in last two games.
Cold: The Huskies are allowing 70.8 pts in AAC games.
-- Daniels on the importance of tonight's game: "We've just got to keep moving up the standings. Right now, we're 3-3. ... We need to win games like this."
-- When asked if Ollie's instant success as a head coach comes as a surprise, Jordan said: "I'm not surprised. And he still has a 32 inch waist. I don't believe it. He looks great, man."
-- Ollie on Jordan trying to turn around Rutgers: "He's a tough person. He's been through a lot of things. He's not looking at it as a situation he's going to fail in. He's looking at it as an opportunity to succeed. It's his alma mater. And he's going in there with a mindset that he's going to turn things around."
-- Boatright is back with the Huskies after missing Tuesday's win over Temple because of his cousin's funeral in his hometown of Aurora,Ill.
"Great to have Ryan back," Ollie said. "I know he still has a heavy heart. We welcome him with open arms. It just gives us another dynamic because he's so quick. With his scoring ability, it just gives us somebody else they've got to scout. It definitely gives us depth in the backcourt that we need."
-- UConn is 9-0 when holding the rebounding edge.
In a related stat, Daniels has had two of his career best rebounding efforts in two of the last three games.
"When he's rebounding and he's active, we're just a better team," Olli said. "We want to keep him active."
-- Ollie on leading scorer Myles Mack: "He's their engine. We've got to turn him off. He's going to score but we have to try to keep his gap plays to a limit. Those are game altering plays."
-- For regular updates during tonight's game, follow me on Twitter @GavinKeefe
Check back after the game for a post-game breakdown and video.
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