Scouting report: No. 10 Connecticut
Game info: 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000 capacity).
TV: ESPNU (Mark Jones and Kara Lawson).
Radio: 950-AM KJR (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
2012-13 record: 20-10 overall, 10-8 (tied seventh in Big East).
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Coach: Kevin Ollie, the former UConn point guard, returned to his alma mater as an assistant in 2010 following a 13-year NBA career in which he played for 12 teams, including the Sonics (2002-03). Ollie replaced legendary UConn coach Jim Calhoun last year. Ollie has a 29-11 record in his second year with the Huskies.
Prediction: Picked to finish second in the 10-team American Athletic Conference by the coaches in a preseason poll. UConn received one first-place vote.
Series: UConn leads 4-0. Washington coach Lorenzo Romar is 0-3 against the “other” Huskies.
Last meeting: Connecticut won 61-53 on Dec. 29, 2012 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. It was the second lowest scoring game of the season for Washington, which shot 29.7 percent from the field and 23.5 percent (4 of 17) on three-pointers.
Previous game: UConn lost 53-51 on Wednesday to Stanford.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Senior Shabazz Napier is relatively short in stature, but the 6-1, 180-pound guard produces big results nearly every time he steps on the court. He leads Connecticut in scoring (15.0 points per game), rebounding (6.8), assists (6.1) and steals (2.1). Napier, a three-year starter, is the real deal. He’s recorded his second career triple double (14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists) on Nov. 11 against Yale. He also drained a 15-foot buzzer-beater to lead UConn to a 65-64 win over then-No. 13 Florida. Napier has been named to the watch list for the Wooden Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy and Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award. He ranks 21st on UConn’s all-time scoring list with 1,389 points.
— Junior Ryan Boatright is the other half UConn’s backcourt, which ranks among the best in the country. Boatright and Napier were the only teammates invited to the Deron Williams/Kyrie Irving Point Guard Skills Academy and Chris Paul’s CP3 camp last summer. Boatright’s scoring has dipped to 11.5 points from last season (15.4) and he’s been overshadowed by Napier’s rise to national acclaim. Still, the 6-0 guard is a two-year starter who capable of a producing a big performance. His career scoring high is 26 points.
— Junior DeAndre Daniels is starting to emerge as one of better forwards in the American Athletic Conference. He’s led UConn in scoring in four games and averages 13.9 points, which is second on the team. He scored in double figures in seven games. At 6-8 and 195 pounds, Daniels is an active big man. He shoots three-pointers (13 of 30, 43.3 percent). He rebounds (4.7 average). He blocks shots (15). And he’s good at the free throw line (18 for 21, 85.7 percent).
— It’s been a strange 18 months for Connecticut. The NCAA banned UConn from postseason following the 2012-13 season due to a poor Academic Progress Rate (APR) score. A few players transferred and some notable recruits de-committed from Connecticut. Calhoun abruptly retired in September 2012 and picked his predecessor Ollie, who had no prior head coaching experience at any level. He was given a five-year contract the same day UConn beat UW on Dec. 29, 2012. And UConn moved to the awkwardly aligned American Athletic Conference.
— At 9-1, UConn is off to the school’s best start in three years.
— Today’s game is the first true road game for the Huskies. They’re 1-3 in their past ‘true’ road games. This season, they are 6-1 at home and 3-0 in neutral-site games.
— UConn’s loss to Stanford on Wednesday snapped a 13-game winning streak against the Pac-12. The Huskies are 17-3 against the conference. They’re 4-1 this season against BCS teams, including wins over Maryland, Boston College, Indiana and Florida.
— Connecticut shoots 44.3 percent on three-point field goals, which ranks second in the nation. However, in the second half in the loss to Stanford, the Huskies were 0 for 12 behind the arc. They were 5 of 31 from the field after the break.
— UConn is a terrific defensive team, which hold opponents to 63.3 points per game. Teams are shooting 37.5 percent against the Huskies and 30.4 percent on three-pointers.
— UConn has been outrebounded 132-93 on the offensive glass.
— The Huskies return four starters. Sophomore Philip Nolan is the newcomer.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP:
F – Phillip Nolan, 6-10, 212, So., 3.0 ppg., 2.3 rpg., 50 FG%
F – DeAndre Daniels, 6-9, 195, Jr., 13.9, 4.7, 1.5 bpg.
G – Omar Calhoun, 6-6, 200, So.,8.7, 2.2, 15 of 49 3-FG
G – Shabazz Napier, 6-1, 180, Sr., 15.0, 6.8, 6.1 apg.
G – Ryan Boatright, 6-0, 168, Jr., 11.5, 3.7, 3.9