Ollie talks about Daniels, Cincinnati, etc.

UConn was scheduled to leave for Cincinnati at 7 p.m. tonight out of Bradley International Airport.

Before his departure, coach Kevin Ollie had a conference call with beat writers to talk about his team's showdown with No. 7 Cincinnati on Thursday night at Fifth Third Arena.

First, Ollie addressed the status of junior DeAndre Daniels, who's recovering from a high right ankle sprain. He suffered the injury against Rutgers Jan. 25 and sat out Thursday's win over Houston.

Daniels has been limited since returning to practice earlier this week. He did some light shooting today.

"It's probably 75 percent that he will play," Ollie said. "He looked pretty good, but the other day he had back spasms, so we were very cautious today. ... Hopefully, he's ready for tomorrow."

Ollie added the Daniels' ankle is about 80-85 percent.

No. 22 UConn certainly needs Daniels, the team's second leading scorer. Cincinnati is one of the hottest teams in the country, owning a 14-game winning streak.

The Bearcats (21-2, 10-0) reside in first place in the American Athetlic Conference.

"Cincinnati is playing at a high level," Ollie said. "They haven't lost in our conference. We want to go in there and hopefully give them their first loss."

UConn's Shabazz Napier and Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick are AAC player of the year candidates.

Both seniors have played clutch basketball in the critical stages of games.

"He's a great player," Ollie said. "He's a basketball player that's going to need everybody's attention. It's not just going to be one person. We're going to do by committee, like we always do."

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin had this to say about Napier: "Shabazz is one of the best players, if not the best guard, that we'll play against all year."

Cronin hopes that Daniels will play.

"I’m a big karma guy," Cronin said. "I believe in rooting for kids and positive energy. I hope he’s OK and able to play healthy and play well.

“Absolutely we’re preparing for him to play.”

 

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