Searching for Easy Baskets

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun had one wish granted Saturday. His other wish for the Huskies might come hand-in-hand with the reinstatement of freshman guard Ryan Boatright.

Calhoun wants UConn to return to scoring easy baskets and Boatright's return should lead to that – or certainly help.

Boatright's quickness and athleticism brings a different element to the Huskies. Shabazz Napier won't be the only one with the ability to penetrate, dish, or score. Boatright can go to the hoop or find the open shooter. UConn thrives off its fastbreak and lately there has been a heavy reliance on halfcourt offense. (Not good.) The big men must do their part as well. It all starts with the rebounding of Alex Oriakhi and Andre Drummond.

GAME CAPSULE

Notre Dame (13-8, 5-3 Big East) at No. 24 UConn (14-5, 4-3)

Date: Jan. 29, 2012

Time: Noon

Site: XL Center, Hartford

TV: SNY (Mike Gleason, Bob Wenzel)

Radio: UConn Radio Network/WTIC-AM 1080 (Joe D'Ambrosio, Wayne Norman)

Series: UConn leads 17-9. Notes: UConn has won seven of the past 11. The schools have met twice during the regular season in each of the last four years and will meet this season. Notre Dame won both meetings last year. UConn leads 10-2 in games in Connecticut, including a 7-1 record at the XL Center.

Last meeting: UConn 67, Notre Dame 53 (Jan. 14, 2012)

Alex Oriakhi (12 points, 7 rebounds) and Andre Drummond (10 points, 13 rebounds) had perhaps their best combined game of the season as UConn snapped Notre Dame's 29-game home winning streak. Shapazz Napier led the Huskies with 16 points. Notre Dame's 53 points were the fewest for the Irish in a home game during the 12-year tenure of coach Mike Brey.

NOTRE DAME PROBABLE STARTERS

G 0 Eric Atkins So. 6-1 182 12.9 ppg

G 14 Scott Martin Sr. 6-8 222 8.9 ppg

G 22 Jerian Grant So. 6-5 195 12.8 ppg

G/F 24 Pat Connaughton Fr. 6-5 206 6.0 ppg

F 45 Jack Cooley Jr. 6-9 248 10.9 ppg

UCONN PROBABLE STARTERS

G 13 Shabazz Napier So. 6-1 171 14.8 ppg

G 3 Jeremy Lamb So. 6-5 180 17.9 ppg

C 34 Andre Drummond Fr. 6-10 270 9.7 ppg

F 2 DeAndre Daniels Fr. 6-8 195 4.0 ppg

F 34 Alex Oriakhi Jr. 6-9 240 6.6 ppg

NOTABLE

BUSY SCHEDULE: The Huskies have been idle since losing at Tennessee on Jan. 21 and Sunday's game wraps up the January schedule. Now UConn will play four games between Feb. 1 and Feb. 11: at Georgetown (Feb. 1), Seton Hall (Feb. 4), at Louisville (Feb. 6), and at Syracuse (Feb. 11). After that, UConn has only six regular season games remaining. "I don't think there's anything critical about basketball games," Calhoun said. "A lot more things that are critical in life. But . . . it's certainly more than an important time for us."

DANIELS BACK IN LINEUP: The revolving door continues to spin at the small forward spot. DeAndre Daniels is proof that Calhoun still rewards a good effort in practice. Calhoun said Daniels had the best week of practice in his career and he will start over Niels Giffey. The Huskies need offensive production and tough defense out of the three spot.

OLANDER STILL STRUGGLING: Tyler Olander has struggled since bruising a heel and his playing time has been limited the last four games. Calhoun said Olander looked "logy" in practice Friday. "And he's looked logy in games," Calhoun said. "But [Notre Dame] played a lot more zone since they played us and we have to be prepared for that. And normally he's a really good trigger man in the middle of that zone, so we have to get him back."

OLD TIMERS WEEK: Calhoun has called on a few former Huskies to workout with the team in practice this week. In addition to coaching staff members Kevin Ollie and Kevin Freeman, Calhoun said Donny Marshall and Tony Robertson have been participating in scrimmages. Robertson is taking courses at UConn this semester, trying to complete his degree work.


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