UConn men: UConn, UMass-Lowell on tap

Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier, center is pressured by American International College’s Ricky Hudson, left, and Spencer Braithwaite, right, during the second half of a men’s NCAA basketball game in Storrs, Conn., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Connecticut won 78-63. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

John F. Silver

The University of Connecticut men’s basketball team gets on more dry run for the 2012-13 season today when it hosts UMass-Lowell in an exhibition game at the XL Center in Hartford.

It’s the final exhibition game of the season before the Huskies head out to Germany to open the season on Nov. 9 against Michigan State.

UConn’s has two big issues it needs to fix, and it’s going to take longer than a pair of exhibition games.

The Huskies, with a size challenged lineup need to find a way to rebound effectively to start the fast break. The Huskies also need to guard the rim better. 

AIC scored 34 points in the paint against the Huskies. That’s not going to get it done in the long run.

“You are going to have to protect it better and shrink the floor,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said of the interior defense. “I thought it was too many middle drives and too many back doors that we didn’t send people uphill towards the Husky (logo). We were sending them down hill and getting a lot of backdoors on us.”

Rebounding remains an issue for the Huskies as does interior scoring and defending. One thing that isn’t a concern is backcourt play. Ryan Boatright had a strong second half against AIC on Thursday and finished with 14 points. Shabazz Napier didn’t have a good shooting game but added 11 points and six assists. The breakout player was Omar Calhoun, with 21 of his 24 in the second half. Calhoun is a scorer, what Ollie is looking for now is consistency. If the Huskies can get that and rebound and defend the goal better it will be a dangerous team.

With Germany around the corner however, there isn’t a lot of time to get ready and the Huskies are not nearly a finished product.

I am in Tampa waiting to fly back after Saturday’s  football game, so here’s some links to today’s game in Hartford.


Hartford Courant: Souleymane Wane: Gentle Giant Now Teaching, Coaching With Class

Journal Inquirer: A Wolf in street clothing

New Haven Register: Huskies look to improve rebounding against UMass-Lowell

CT Post: Recruiting roundup Nov. 3

The Day: Ollie has already taught Calhoun a valuable lesson