UConn men host DePaul

Connecticut's Shabazz Napier looks to pass during the first half of Connecticut's 73-62 victory over Stony Brook in an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. Nappier scored a game-high 19 in the victory. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier looks to pass during the first half of Connecticut’s 73-62 victory over Stony Brook in an NCAA college basketball game in Storrs, Conn., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. Nappier scored a game-high 19 in the victory. (AP Photo/Fred Beckham)

John F. Silver

UConn coach Kevin Ollie is 13 games into his coaching career.

With the Huskies (10-3, 0-1)  settling into Big East play, which resume tonight when UConn hosts DePaul (10-5, 1-1), Ollie is starting to get that coaching feel. 

The Huskies’ backcourt situation is sound. Shabazz Napier (17.5 ppg) and Ryan Boatright (15.8 ppg) are the starting guards with Omar Calhoun (10.8 ppg) playing the traditional off guard slot in the undersized three-guard offense. Senior R.J. Evans spells all three as the Huskies guard rotation remains one of the best in the Big East. At forward, the Huskies start DeAndre Daniels (10.1 ppg) and sub in Niels Giffey for defense and some shooting.

Then there is the big man rotation. Enosch Wolf, Tyler Olander and Phil Nolan are all candidates for the pivot and where Ollie goes remains a day-to-day decision.

Olander started in the overtime loss against Marquette but struggled with three points and three rebounds in 26 minutes. The 7-foot-1 Wolf continues to be productive with minutes and had six points and seven rebounds in 17 foul-plagued minutes while Nolan has remained a reserve who has played eight minutes the last two games.

While the guard and one forward rotation are pretty sound, Ollie is playing what he is doing inside by the game, and sometimes by the minute.  The Huskies were dominated on the glass in the first half against Marquette and Ollie won’t forget it.

It all dictates on rebounding,” Ollie said.  “I told the guys that. If you aren’t rebounding you aren’t playing. I told the guys that.  I never want to go back into the locker room at the end of the first half like the Marquette game. Hopefully, they understand. I can’t say we have a set pattern. If you can’t rebound and play hard you are coming out.”
“I like our guard rotation,” Ollie continued. “I am still experimenting with the bigs getting Phil in there and Enosch in there and Niels and DeAndre are set.  (Substitutions) happens when you aren’t rebounding someone is going to get their feelings hurt.”
The Huskies host DePaul tonight at Gampel Pavilion before heading out to South Bend to take on Notre Dame.

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