Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Quick hitters on The Hall

Some quick hitters from this morning's UConn men's basketball availability, just prior to their practice at noon. The Huskies will be leaving for Newark directly after today's practice.

* Jim Calhoun believes Cincinnati's upset road win over Louisville is a precursor of things to come in what appears to be a very well-balanced Big East. The key to success, he reasons, is to not squander any winnable games. If you're on the road and you're better than the opponent or playing better than that opponent, you've got to win.
"You can't let games get by you and assume you can make them up, because where are you going to make them up?" Calhoun asked rhetorically. "You're not going to make them up in Indiana, you're not going to make them up a lot of places. You've got to take that Belichick theory of being focused on one game at a time."

* Another interesting quote from the coach: "If Georgetown, because of the Final Four last year and returning the big kid, is the best team in the league … it doesn't seem to me they're very much separated from anybody else in the league, even though I think they're very good."

* Backup center Jonathan Mandeldove won't make the trip to Newark with the team, but the 7-footer will be re-evaluated tomorrow and might make the trip to South Bend for Saturday night's bout with Notre Dame. Mandeldove wasn't with the Huskies on their recent five-day excurision in Orlando.

* Craig Austrie still isn't 100 percent after a bout with pneumonia three weeks ago, but the junior guard said he's "getting there."

* Seton Hall is a guard-oriented team, led by 6-foot-5 senior swingman Brian Laing, who leads the Big East in scoring at 20.5 ppg, and sophomore guard Eugene Harvey, who averages 18.4 ppg and gets to the line -- he has hit 70 of 100 free throw attempts so far this year, both tops in the conference. (UConn's Jeff Adrien is second with 90 attempts, though he's hit just 53 of them).
The Hall averages 11.3 steals per game (tops in the Big East), led by junior Paul Gause, who averages 3.27 thefts per contest, and Harvey (2.09). They like to press and use their quickness defensively.
"We've got to take care of the ball and play defense," Calhoun reasoned. "Those are the two things I want us to do."

* Incidentally, free throw shooting is the only glitch Adrien sees in his own game right now.
"I could make more free throws, a lot more free throws," he said. "Other than that, I had some games where I didn't get as many rebounds as I wanted to, but I think I'm picking it up. Going into the Big East season, I know I can't have those games where I get one, two rebounds a game. I'm going to be there when it's time."

* In a category only media types will care about: a big thumbs-down for Seton Hall's sports information department. The Hall is the first school not to have its media notes available to the press the day before a game. (And its website is no picnic, either).

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