Saturday, January 03, 2009

Sick Again

Here's the update on Jim Calhoun's health situation:

According to UConn team spokesman Kyle Muncy, Calhoun skipped today's 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. shootaround and was unsure if he'd be able to coach the team at all tonight. He wound up giving it a go, arriving at Gampel Pavilion around 4:30 p.m., and obviously coached the team for the first half. But a combination of a bad cold that's bothered him for the past couple of weeks, along with a bout with shingles, was too much for him to handle in the second and he never left the locker room.

"He looked alright when he got here, he seemed to be talking OK and seemed pretty good," said George Blaney, who took over the helm for the latter half. "But during the game, it just seemed like he was getting tired. I think he caught the cold out in Seattle in that tremendous weather we had out there, and he hasn't really shaken it yet."

Calhoun spoke to the team in the locker room at halftime but then told Blaney he couldn't go on. He also addressed the team after the game.

Calhoun has now either missed a game or left a game early due to illness 20 times in his 23 years at UConn -- as documented by an "only at UConn" list distributed to the media during tonight's game. It's the first time it's happened to him this season, but it's the fourth straight season it's happened. And it always seems to happen around this time of year: the prior four were Jan. 12, 2008 at Georgetown (missed game), Jan. 8, 2008 vs. St. John's (left game), Jan. 13, 2007 at St. John's (left and returned) and Jan. 16, 2006 at Syracuse.

For what it's worth, UConn is now 16-4 in games Calhoun has missed or left early due to illness.

For what it's also worth, the Huskies seemed to play a heckuva lot freer and looser in the second half tonight.

***What band recorded the song "Sick Again" in 1975?

Some numbers to chew on:

***After shooting 34.6 percent from the floor in the first half, the Huskies shot 67.9 percent (19-for-28) in the latter.

***The Huskies scored 15 of their 21 fast-break points in the second half.

***Rutgers shot just 26.1 percent in the opening half and 28.8 percent for the game.

***UConn had zero -- zilch, nada -- turnovers in the first half and six for the game, against 21 assists. Rutgers turned the ball over 15 times.

***Rutgers' leading scorer Mike Rosario was held to just 2-for-13 shooting. He was 0-for-8 at halftime. Rosario, who entered the game averaging 17.8 ppg, finished with just 10, thanks mostly to Jerome Dyson.

"Jerome Dyson is one of the best defenders in the country," Blaney said. "He can lock people up."

Said Dyson: "I think I have the ability to lock down any player. I really thrive on it, because if you play good defense, it's always going to leave you with something good on the other side."

Craig Austrie also did a good job denying Rosario the ball in the latter half, and Stanley Robinson guarded him for a short stint in the first half, blocking one of Rosario's shots.

***Won't blog much about Stanley Robinson tonight because he's the lead of my notebook for tomorrow's paper. But boy, does he make a difference (11 points, seven boards, four assists, three blocks, no turnovers, three dunks, boundless enthusiasm in 24 minutes).

***This from beleagured Rutgers head man Fred Hill, who has now lost to the No. 1 (North Carolina), No. 2 (UConn, for now) and No. 3 (Pittsburgh) teams in the nation in consecutive games over the past week: "Carolina can score with anybody in the country, but this was the best defensive team of the three that we've faced."

High praise, indeed.

Calhoun Not on Bench

Jim Calhoun isn't on the bench as we start the second half. Apparently, he's been battling a bad cold for a while now. Associate head coach George Blaney is at the helm.

It's the 20th time Calhoun has missed a game or left a game early due to illness in his 23 seasons at UConn, and the first time this season.

More updates to come ...

No Buzz Tonight, So Far

Pretty dead in the building tonight.

A combination of a non-sellout crowd, with students still away on break, and some unattracstive basketball that may not have set the game back a few decades but certainly didn't advance the cause, has resulted in zero buzz at Gampel this evening.

Despite shooting 34.6 percent from the floor, UConn owns a 29-18 halftime advantage. Stanley Robinson looks good in his return to the starting lineup, with seven points (3-for-4 field goals, all dunks). Hasheem Thabeet left the game briefly with a right hip-pointer but soon returned. He's still rather invisible offensively (two points) but has grabbed seven boards. The Huskies haven't turned the ball over and are sharing the ball well, with five different players accounting for their eight assists. Some nice interior passes from Jeff Adrien, Jerome Dyson, Craig Austrie and Robinson.

Rutgers, meanwhile, has hit just 6 of 23 shots (26.1 percent). Top scorer Mike Rosario is 0-for-8, thanks largely to sticky defense applied by Dyson and, briefly, Robinson. The Scarlet Knights have turned the ball over seven times.

Still, it's a little surprising that, on the heels of their awful start against Georgetown on Monday night, the Huskies didn't exactly come out with guns blazin'. They missed seven of their first eight shots, but that happens. What's inexcusable is an apparent lack of emotion they displayed through much of the opening half.

Even in pregame warm-ups, it too often appears as if UConn is just going through the motions, not really jacked-up, Pete Carroll-style, for the game. Maybe they should watch some Tyler Hansborough highlights.

Elsewhere …

***UConn assistant coach Patrick Sellers will go watch the Huskies' new commit, Jamaal Trice, play on Thursday. Trice is a postgraduate student at Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C.

***The Huskies have strong interest in Andre Drummond, a 6-foot-9 sophomore at Hartford's Capital Prep, and would love to land a commitment from Drummond before he blows up at the national level. As it stands now, Drummond is a raw but terrifically athletic player. Drummond, son of a New York City cop, moved to Middletown a few years ago with his mother.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Sticks to Start vs. Rutgers

Stanley "Sticks" Robinson will return to the starting lineup tomorrow night against Rutgers, taking Craig Austrie's spot in the starting five.

"We feel with the two big guys starting for them, it gives us a bit of a size advantage," Jim Calhoun said. "But minutes-wise, it's probably not going to mean all that much, I don't think."

It certainly means a lot to Robinson.

"I'm really excited," he said after practice this afternoon. "It's just a good feeling for me, it brings me back to last year, how I used to start. It's just a great feeling stepping back on the court for my first time this year."

Robinson, of course, sat out the entire first semester for personal reasons. He returned to the practice floor on Dec. 14, and the very next night had seven points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks in 16 minutes against Stony Brook. He hasn't been much of a factor in his four games back, to this point, but believes he's rounding back into form.

"I'm getting closer," he said. "At the same time, I've just got to keep working hard at it and I'll feel like I did last year. It's been a good 2 ½ weeks, but I've got to keep working."

"He's coming along very well," A.J. Price reported. "He looks in great shape, running the floor well, being very active for us. The only thing is, I'd like to see him be more aggressive on the offensive end and look for his shot a little more. But he's brought a lot to our team since he's come back."

Before his return to play, Robinson said he was in "marathon shape, not sprint shape," after running the 3 ½-mile Husky Run course three times a week over the prior few months. He says he's in sprint shape now.

"My wind's OK," Robinson said. "But my sinuses have been stuffed up for, like, six years. I'm serious, I've got to get it checked out."

Umm … yeah.

Calhoun noted that Robinson's return to the starting lineup shouldn't be construed as any disappointment in how Austrie (9.3 ppg) has played.

"It really isn't anything Craig's doing or not doing, it's more a case of trying to get a different look, see if we can get a little bigger. We're still only plus-four, five rebounding-wise, so if he's more excited, he's got the potential to be another rebounder for us."

Elsewhere …

***Calhoun noted that Rutgers struggled against Pittsburgh's zone on Wednesday in the Panthers' narrow, 78-72 win at the RAC. With that in mind, the Huskies could throw a little more zone than usual out on the Gampel Pavilion floor tomorrow night.

"We did play zone against La Salle for a whole half," noted. "We play it three or four times a week against each other, because we're going to face zones. We tweaked it today, knowing we're going on the road (for West Virginia and Cincinnati), and for the Rutgers game."

Why would the Scarlet Knights be particularly susceptible to the zone? Well, they only shoot 30.2 percent from 3-point range, and only hoist up about 17 treys per game.

***Rutgers is in the midst of what is thought to be an historic trio of games – after tomorrow night, it will have played the nation's No. 1 (North Carolina), No. 3 (Pittsburgh) and No. 2 (UConn) teams consecutively, believed to be a first in Division 1 men's hoops. (Of course, the Huskies will certainly drop down a few pegs in next week's poll).

The Scarlet Knights lost to UNC, 97-75, and gave Pitt all they could handle in the 78-72 loss.

"Are they prepared to play against good teams?" Calhoun asked, rhetorically. "Yes, that's what you have to think."

***Certainly, Rutgers freshman Mike Rosario is prepared. The first-ever McDonald's All-America in program history, he has been very impressive thus far. Rosario went for 26 points against the Tar Heels and 22 vs. Pitt. He's also the reigning Big East Rookie of the Week, and he leads the Scarlet Knights in scoring at 17.8 ppg. In fact, he's attempted nearly twice as many shots (194) as the next Rutgers player (Corey Chandler, 115).

Rosario's not perfect, however. He's turned the ball over 34 times against 20 assists this season. In fact, the whole Rutgers team struggles with ball control: the Scarlet Knights have 159 assists this season, and 215 turnovers!

***No one was more upset about Hasheem Thabeet's disappointing (four points, seven rebounds) Big East opener against Georgetown than Thabeet himself.

"He was the first guy to say he had a bad game, he was sorry he let us down," Calhoun said. "That's very typical of him."

Thabeet may have some extra incentive to bounce back tomorrow against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights' starting center, 6-11 junior Hamady Ndiaye, is second in the nation and third nationally in blocked shots. More to the point, he's a fellow African native.

"I know how (Thabeet) feels about Ndiaye," said Price, "so I'm sure he'll be going hard. I don't think he likes other Africans."

For what it's worth, Ndiaye is from Senegal, Thabeet from Tanzania.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Huskies Beat Hoyas, Off the Court

The UConn men’s basketball team may have gotten smoked by Georgetown on Monday night, but the Huskies have defeated the Hoyas in a – albeit brief – recruiting battle.

UConn received a verbal commitment today from Jamaal Trice, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard out of Los Angeles who was on an official visit to UConn the past few days.

Trice’s commitment comes somewhat out of the blue. He told reporters prior to Monday’s UConn-Georgetown game that he had yet to receive any offers – including from UConn. He had interest from Wake Forest, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and South Florida, and Georgetown came in late, as well. In fact, the Hoyas were apparently on the phone with Trice’s father last night.

However, after enjoying his visit to UConn and receiving an offer from the Huskies yesterday, Trice decided to commit this morning.

UConn had heard about Trice through assistant coach Andre LaFleur’s California connections, but hadn’t seen him at all until a couple of weeks ago, when assistant Patrick Sellers took in one of Trice’s practices at Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C. Trice came across as a nice, personable kid; he’s a good student and a fast, athletic player who can shoot the ball well, too.

Trice played four years at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif., but decided for a year as a postgraduate at Mt. Zion to boost his stock. He played both with and against current UConn sophomore guard Donnell Beverly in high school and AAU.

On Monday, Trice said the thing he likes best about the Huskies is "their open play. I like to run and gun."

When asked with whom he'd compare his game, Trice said fellow L.A. native Paul Pierce. But make no mistake: Trice is a huge Lakers fan.

Trice's uncle, Robin Kirksey, played at Loyola-Marymount in the early-1990's.

The Huskies now have three incoming recruits for next season: Trice, 6-8 forward Alex Oriakhi and 6-6 swingman Jamal Coombs-McDaniel. The latter two are currently seniors at Tilton School in New Hampshire.

UConn could have another scholarship to offer next season if Hasheem Thabeet turns pro, as expected, or if anyone transfers. The Huskies chief recruiting target right now will be a shot-blocking big man.

The Huskies had hoped to see Josh Smith, a 6-foot-9, 280-pound center/power forward out of Kentwood High School in Kent, Wash., on their trip out to Seattle for the Gonzaga game. But Seattle's snowy weather cancelled all high school games while UConn was out there.

Trice Commits to Huskies

The Huskies have received a commitment from Jamaal Trice, the 6-foot-5 guard out of Los Angeles who attended UConn's 74-63 loss to Georgetown on an official visit Monday night.

Trice is currently a postgraduate student at Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C. The Huskies got the word they should take a look at him a short while ago and, saw him at practice and liked what they saw all-around – he's a nice, personable kid, a good student and a fast, athletic player.

Trice is from Los Angeles, where he attended Santa Ana's Mater Dei High. He played both with and against current UConn sophomore guard Donnell Beverly in high school and AAU. On Monday, Trice said the thing he likes best about the Huskies is "their open play. I like to run and gun."

When asked with whom he'd compare his game, Trice said fellow L.A. native Paul Pierce. But make no mistake: Trice is a huge Lakers fan.

Trice said Monday he had no other visits planned but would like to make some before reaching his decision. Apparently, that thinking has changed. He had interest from Wake Forest, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and South Florida, among others.

Trice's uncle, Robin Kirksey, played at Loyola-Marymount in the early-1990's.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Hash By Numbers

Georgetown coach John Thompson III was asked how his team was able to hold Hasheem Thabeet to just four points (2-for-4 shooting) Monday night.

“It was a group effort,” said Thompson. “We wanted to make sure everyone knew where he was. He just had one of those days … Thabeet’s not going to go through too many days the rest of his life with a game like that.”

A scan of Thabeet’s career at UConn, however, would offer evidence to the contrary.

One of the big knocks on Thabeet to this point is that he fattens up against lesser foes but plays his worst against the best competition. By and large, the numbers back that up.

Thabeet’s statistics have trended downward in Big East play. And if it’s common sense to think a player’s numbers would be better overall than in league play, consider that three of UConn’s top players last year – A.J. Price, Jeff Adrien and Craig Austrie – all had better scoring averages in Big East play than overall (Doug Wiggins’ was exactly the same). And Thabeet’s numbers are even worse against Top 25 teams and/or top-notch opposing centers.

Here's a look at Thabeet's stats for field goal percentage, scoring, rebounds and blocked shots over his career thus far at UConn, broken down by overall totals, Big East totals, against Top 25 teams and against marquee big men. And by marquee big men, we mean five players we think you'll have no argument with: 2007-08 first-team all-Big East picks Luke Harangody, David Padgett, Roy Hibbert and Kentrell Gransberry, as well as Greg Monroe, who seems destined for stardom.

Yes, the latter is a small sample size -- just six games. But it does nothing to dissuade the notion that Thabeet struggles against better talent -- the type of talent he'll be facing in the NBA.

Overall G: 31, FG Pct.: .554, PPG: 6.2, Rebs.: 6.4, Blocks: 3.8
Big East G: 16, FG Pct.: .510, PPG: 5.4, Rebs: 5.9, Blocks: 3.75
Vs. Top 25 G: 4, FG Pct.: .500, PPG: 4.5, Rebs.: 6.0, Blocks: 1.7

Overall G: 33, FG Pct.: .603, PPG: 10.5, Rebs: 7.9, Blocks: 3.45
Big East G: 18, FG Pct.: .560, PPG: 9.7, Rebs: 7.6, Blocks: 5.2
Vs. Top 25 G: 7, FG Pct.: .562, PPG: 8.7, Rebs.: 6.4, Blocks: 3.8

Overall G: 12, FG Pct.: .667, PPG: 13.9, Rebs.: 10.8, Blocks: 4.0
Big East G: 1, FG Pct.: .500, PPG: 4.0, Rebs.: 7.0, Blocks: 7.0
Vs. Top 25 G: 4, FG Pct.: .576, PPG: 10.2, Rebs: 7.5; Blocks: 4.5

Overall G: 76, FG Pct.: .603, PPG: 9.3, Rebs.: 7.4, Blocks: 4.1
Big East G: 35, FG Pct.: .560, PPG: 7.6, Rebs.: 6.8, Blocks: 4.6
Vs. Top 25 G: 15, FG Pct.: .557, PPG: 8.0, Rebs.: 6.6, Blocks: 3.7
Vs. top centers* G: 6, FG Pct.: .421, PPG: 6.4, Rebs.: 6.5, Blocks: 6.5

* -- The past two seasons, against Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody (2 games) and Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert, Louisville’s David Padgett, South Florida’s Kentrell Gransberry, and Georgetown’s Greg Monroe (1 game each).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle

Wow ... that was ugly.

Is it too simplistic to say that UConn's somewhat uninspired practice on Sunday rolled over into tonight's Big East season-opener with Georgetown? Maybe. But while Jim Calhoun didn't hark back to yesterday's practice at all, his harping on the Huskies' penchant for taking too many stretches off in games, no matter the opponent, certainly rang true tonight.

"I hated our body language early," Calhoun said. "For fleeting minutes, I liked it. And I detested it in the last eight minutes. With eight minutes to go we were down, like, 12 (actually 11), and I didn't like looking at my team. It's the first time all year I can tell you that."


Here's the deal: the Huskies were not good tonight. Calhoun didn't want to talk about any individual player, saying no one on his team played particularly well, and he was right. (The closest he came to complimenting anyone was A.J. Price, who played with some pep and netted a team-high 16 points).

But here's the other deal: these Hoyas are good. Real good. They play rock-solid, tough defense. That wins games, particularly in the rough-and-tumble Big East. They play a very disciplined, effective offense, and -- at least on Monday -- they make their shots (47 percent).

Hard to believe they were picked to finish seventh in the preseason coaches' poll, though it's hard to imagine freshman Greg Monroe could be this good. Monroe totally schooled Hasheem Thabeet tonight, scoring 16 points on a variety of spin moves, reverse layups and even 3-pointers (2-for-2). He even doled out four assists and had three steals, picking Price's pocket near midcourt early on and soaring in for a layup while being fouled.

Thabeet? Four points on 2-for-4 shooting. Had a meaningless dunk with 2 1/2 minutes left, and even failed to complete the three-point play. Sure, he blocked seven shots and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. But who do you think the 31 NBA scouts in attendance thought should be the lottery pick after tonight, Monroe or Thabeet?

After practice on Sunday, Thabeet was asked a few times about Monroe but didn't want to address him specifically, instead praising the whole Hoya team. It was more of the same after tonight's game.

What did you think about Monroe?, he was asked.

"The whole Georgetown team came out and played good," Thabeet responded.

He was pressed: How about Monroe specifically, were you impressed?

Thabeet sat silently for a few moments, then finally -- quietly -- acknowledged, "Yeah, he's good."

Maybe Jeff Adrien's comments were most telling: "I played against Greg this summer, I know what he's capable of doing. I don't know if Hasheem was surprised, but I definitely wasn't surprise. I knew he was a very good player."

Not that the rest of the Huskies come away unscathed. Jerome Dyson simply didn't show up, going 1-for-10 from the floor for four points along with four turnovers. Craig Austrie also had just four points and nary a steal or assist. Kemba Walker scored 14 off the bench but had four turnovers and zero -- yup, the bagel -- assists. Stanley Robinson (four points, three turnovers) and Gavin Edwards (two points, one rebound) were hardly noticed.

Adrien played reasonably well with 15 points, though just five boards. At one point he scored six straight Husky points on a putback, a short bank and a lefty layup to bring UConn to within four (49-45) with 11:36 left. Georgetown countered with a 21-8 run, emphatically capped by a DaJuan Summers two-handed, putback jam with 4:06 left.

Game, set, match.


Calhoun was visibly upset in the postgame press conference, not only with his team. A sampling:

Calhoun: "I want to thank our fans for trying to help us bring back into the game that they seemed to want more than we did. Congratulations to Georgetown. Quite frankly, a lot of things that happened tonight I never could have or would have expected."

Reporter: "Could you repeat that last statement?"

Calhoun (before she could finish her question): "No."

Some more:

Reporter: "Coach, what do you think happened to Hasheem ..."

Calhoun: "I'm not gonna comment on any player. You saw what you saw ... The freshman played great."

Reporter: "Monroe?"

Calhoun: "I do know his name. I actually did see him in scouting."

It was that kind of night.


***Georgetown shot 18-for-21 from the foul line and swished their final 18 of the game.

***UConn turned the ball over 17 times and had a mere six assists.

***The Hoyas shot 50 percent from both the floor (16-for-32) and 3-point range (4-for-8) in the opening half and shot 47.2 percent from the floor for the game.

***Surprisingly, UConn shot 44.9 percent from the floor, but on just 49 shots.

Here's a gimmie: Who sang "Welcome to the Jungle"?

Trice is Nice

Jamaal Trice, a postgraduate student at Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, N.C., is here tonight on an official visit.

Trice, a 6-foot-5 combo guard, has yet to be offered by any major program – including UConn. The Huskies saw him at practice recently and liked what they saw all-around – he's a nice, personable kid, a good student and a fast, athletic player. But the Huskies would still like to see him play in a game before offering him a scholarship.

Trice is from Los Angeles, where he attended Santa Ana's Mater Dei High. He played both with and against current UConn sophomore guard Donnell Beverly in both high school and AAU.

Trice says the thing he likes best about the Huskies is "their open play. I like to run and gun."
When asked with whom he'd compare his game, Trice said fellow L.A. native Paul Pierce. But make no mistake: Trice is a huge Lakers fan.

Trice said he has no other visits currently planned but would like to make some before reaching his decision. He's had interest from Wake Forest, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and South Florida, among others.

Trice's uncle, Robin Kirksey, played at Loyola-Marymount in the early-1990's.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ho-Hum, Here Come the Hoyas?

Not the greatest pre-Big East season-opening practice today.

For whatever reason, UConn looked a bit subdued and sluggish this afternoon at Gampel Pavilion. At one point, after a sloppy fullcourt drill, Jim Calhoun shouted out, "Why take time off now? You think you're going to find it tomorrow in the game? That's not gonna happen. Never has, never will."

At the end of practice, the Huskies have to hit at least 9 of 12 free throws before they can go home. Once they miss their fourth, they've got to run. They failed the first time through and had to run a lap. They failed the second time and had to run a sprint. Then they failed a third time and ran a suicide.

Finally – mercifully – the Huskies hit their number, and practice was over.

Whatever sluggishness they may have showed should surely wash away tomorrow night, in front of a big crowd at the XL Center against traditional rival Georgetown.

"It's an exciting time of year, it's my 23rd time going through this," said Cahoun. "I don't think it really changes. Having Georgetown coming here this year, I think puts an extra sparkle in the air. Hopefully our fans – and I know it's tough economic times – will show up. There should be a little more electricity in the air (tonight)."

Apparently, a few tickets are still available for the game.

***For what it's worth, a total of 169 credentials – so far – will be handed out tomorrow night, including 30 NBA scouts, three scouting service reps and a couple of European scouts.

***Ater Majok watched practice with his coach from Australia, Ed Smith. Majok stuck around after practice and shot around with Scottie Haralson.

***This will be the first time that UConn and Georgetown have met as ranked teams since the famous 1996 Big East Tournament championship game, when No. 3 UConn beat Allen Iverson and the No. 4 Hoyas, 75-74, on Ray Allen's wild shot near the end of the game.

A.J. Price watched that game on TV.

"I remember that game," he said. "That's a classic game. Georgetown-UConn, two of traditionally the most powerful teams in the Big East."

***This will be the ninth time UConn and Georgetown have met as ranked teams. UConn is 5-3 in such meetings; only one (Jan. 16, 1995, a 93-73 UConn victory in Hartford) previous took place at UConn.

***Georgetown's 6-foot-11 freshman center Greg Monroe is off to a fine start, averaging 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Calhoun and assistant Andre LaFleur paid a visit to Monroe's Louisiana home in September, 2007, but shortly thereafter, Monroe elected to go to Georgetown.

"Monroe will come out 16, 17 feet and go by you," Calhoun noted. "He's a little more mobile big man. He's obviously a very good player."

UConn freshman Kemba Walker played against Monroe in AAU and at some camps.

"He's good," Walker reported. "He's 6-10, can put it on the floor, run the floor and shoot it pretty well."

***Expect the same starting five tomorrow night, as the Hoyas essentially run a three-guard lineup. When asked if he'd eventually like to see Stanley Robinson work his way into the starting lineup, Calhoun replied: "I don’t care about that. I'd like to see him get better. In fairness to him, it's just a matter of reps and playing, shooting, etc. We need him to be better. He's got to match up with (6-8 DaJuan) Summers and that kind of player. But we can't force the issue of a guy you haven't played with in six months."

***Jerome Dyson, who twisted his left knee while diving for a loose ball on Dec. 20 against Gonzaga, looked a bit uncomfortable in practice on Sunday.

"It's alright, it's still sore," he said. "I'm just trying to fight through it. I've still got some pain in it."

***With a win tonight, Calhoun would move into a tie with Lefty Driesell for No. 7 on the all-time NCAA Division I wins list with 786.