Friday, February 08, 2008

(Yellow) Jackets Required

Here's some notes from today's practice as the Huskies get set to host an improving Georgia Tech team tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Gampel:

CLOSE CALLS: The Huskies have won five straight contests by single-digit margins -- the first time they've ever done so in coach Jim Calhoun's 22 years at the school. Conversely, all but two of Georgia Tech’s 10 losses this season have come by 10 points or less. There’s been a one-point loss to then-undefeated, then-No. 1 North Carolina and a two-point setback last Saturday to Maryland. In fact, the Yellow Jackets’ three losses in ACC play this season have come by a combined total of five points.

DON'T SLEEP ON TECH: Tech has played much better lately. Since that near-upset of UNC on Jan. 16, the Yellow Jackets have won four of five, three of them on the road. One of those road wins was a 92-82 overtime decision over Virginia on Jan. 27. Dave Leitao, the ex-UConn assistant who now coaches Virginia, told Calhoun in a phone conversation earlier in the week that Tech is one of the better teams in the ACC.
“But,” Calhoun pointed out, “after Duke and North Carolina, there are about seven (teams) who are just the same.”

NOWHERE BUT UP: Last year's 65-52 loss to the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta was "one of the low points of the season," according to Calhoun.

OH, STANLEY!:Stanley Robinson's defense has been strong, particularly on Wednesday night at Syracuse, but he hasn't been very productive offensively. Robinson is averaging just 7.9 ppg in Big East play.

PUT ME IN, COACH: UConn reserves have combined for just 13 points in the team’s last four games. Gavin Edwards, a power forward, has replaced Curtis Kelly, another power forward, as the first 3-man off the bench because he’s more sure with the ball as the Huskies have tried to slow the game down. With fewer possessions, each one is valuable, so Calhoun values a player like Edwards, who is less prone to turning the ball over. Georgia Tech has far more depth, with 10 players averaging double-figure minutes.

CLINCH-ING VICTORY?:Georgia Tech's leading scorer is Anthony Morrow (14.5). Lewis Clinch is second at 11.2, but has struggled greatly in ACC play and, in fact, has lost his starting two-guard position to D'Andre Bell. Freshman Moe Miller also replaced Matt Causey as the team's starting point guard seven games ago as the Jackets' began to turn around their season.

IN STORRS NOW: Tech features a player named Lance Storrs, a freshman who only plays about 7 minutes per game. Storrs ... get it?

OLD RIVALS: G-Tech junior center Alade Aminu hails from Stone Mountain, Ga. -- the same hometown as UConn sophomore reserve center Jonathan Mandeldove. According to The Dove, they played against each other in high school and know each other pretty well.


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