Pre-championship game preview: Louisville

A week ago, UConn suffered one of its worst losses in recent years at Louisville.

The Huskies get another shot at the Cardinals today with the American Athletic Conference Championship on the line as well as an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. Game time is 6 p.m. at the FedEx Forum.

“We’re right where we want to be,” junior DeAndre Daniels said. “We wanted to come into this tournament and end up playing them again. We’re happy.”

Here’s a pre-game preview:

-- Fifth-ranked Louisville has simply steamrolled its competition this week, winning by an average of 45 points. The Cardinals look unbeatable.

“It’s nice to be on a roll a little bit right now…,”Louisville’s Luke Hancock said. “We’re looking at every team like they’re one of the best teams in the country and we need to win.”

 -- Coach Kevin Ollie on today’s game: “It’s another 40-minute war and we’re ready to battle.”

 -- Louisville has won eight of the last nine games in the series. Six of those wins came by double figures.

UConn lost twice in the regular season – 76-64 inStorrson Jan. 18 and 81-48 last Saturday.

Junior Ryan Boatright said the Huskies learned from their mistakes.

“They played a great game inLouisvilleand we just played a terrible game,” Boatright said. “That’s why the score was like that. Not taking anything away from them, but we just played bad. We turned the ball over and missed a lot of shots. We didn’t execute on both ends of the floor and we didn’t stay together as a team.

“We went back to Storrsand regrouped and learned from our mistakes. We’re a whole another team.”

 -- The two programs met in the 2011 Big East tournament championship game, with winning UConn 69-66.

It was Louisville’s last loss in a conference tourney. The defending nation champion Cardinals have won 19 of their last 20 post-season games, including 11 straight. Their conference tourney winning streak stands at nine.

 -- Louisville coach Rick Pitino on tonight’s final: “We’re excited about it. We talk about it all season long, winning the regular season, winning the conference tournament and going on for a successful post-season. It’s very important to us.

“When you play for a championship, you need to do everything humanely possible to get it.”

 -- UConn must find a way to slow down Russ Smith. He’s averaging 29 points in two AAC tournament games.

Here’s what Shabazz Napier said about facing Smith: “I’m ready to play Louisville. I don’t see any match-up between me and him. I’m not here to play a one-on-one game. It’s a five-on-five game, so I need to be ready to play Louisville.”

 -- Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell is a match-up nightmare. He averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds in two games versus UConn this season.

 -- The Cardinals are ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring margin at 21.3 points.

 -- No. 19 UConn has a 6-3 record against ranked teams this season.

 -- The Huskies are 7-3 in conference championship games.

 -- Check back later for a post-game breakdown and video.

-- For regular game updates, follow me on Twitter @GavinKeefe

 

Reader Comments

MORE BLOGS

Post-game breakdown: Columbia

UConn coach Kevin Ollie saw it coming.He really did.

Pre-game preview: Columbia

UConn has only four non-conference games remaining this season.

Huskies spreading holiday cheer

The UConn basketball team will participate in Kevin Ollie's Christmas for Hartford's Children in the city's Blue Hills Neighborhood on Saturday.

Post-game breakdown: Duke

UConn's offense is in serious need of a tune-up.The Huskies sputttered their way to just 56 points on Thursday night at the Izod Center.

Pre-game preview: Duke

Tonight’s game pits the defending national champion against a serious national championship contender.UConn is a decisive underdog.

UConn-Duke connections

Let’s talk UConn-Duke connections.The Huskies (4-3) and undefeated Blue Devils (9-0) renew their rivalry Thursday night in East Rutherford, N.J.

Post-game breakdown: Coppin State

Not sure if Sunday afternoon’s shootout made UConn basketball fans feel better or worse about their Huskies.

Pre-game preview: Coppin State

UConn needs a bounce back game in a big way today.Coppin State hasn't beaten a Division I team so far this season.

Post-game breakdown: Yale

Coach Kevin Ollie delivered a blunt assessment of his basketball following a second straight last-second loss.Yale 45, UConn 44.

Pre-game preview: Yale

It seems like an eternity since UConn last lost to an in-state foe.You have to go back to 1986.

Boatright in a rush to return, and other UConn news

Senior Ryan Boatright is not 100 percent healthy.

Injury updates on Boatright, Purvis, Calhoun

UConn sent along some injury updates today.

Post-game breakdown, video: Texas

UConn saw its 44-game non-conference winning streak at Gampel Pavilion end in stunning fashion on Sunday.

Pre-game preview: Texas

Here at Gampel Pavilion for showdown between No. 24 UConn and No. 7 Texas.

Ollie lifts suspensions, plus more UConn news

Some UConn basketball news from Friday: