STORRS, Conn. – Coming off a huge upset of No. 6 Syracuse, Connecticut will play Big East opponent Villanova this Saturday at the XL Center (12 p.m.). Once again, the Huskies will be without Enosch Wolf, whose indefinite suspension continues following his arrest on Monday.
Here is what coach Kevin Ollie and some of the players had to say after practice Friday at Gampel Pavilion.
Ollie on following the win over Syracuse:
"It's a good test for us and we proved that we are a big team and we can play against a top ten opponent and come out with a win. We did a lot of good things against the zone, but Villanova poses different challenges for us. They're not playing zone, they're playing man to man primarily. They're hard hitting on the pick and rolls. We haven't seen man to man, I don't know when the last time. Seton Hall plays zone, St. John's plays zone, Syracuse plays zone, so it will be a different challenge for us, but I think we'll be ready."
Ollie on the lack of depth in the frontcourt:
"We're thin. Everything is an option to me right now. We get into foul trouble, anything happen, we're going to have to make adjustments, so everybody's alive. You might see Leon [Tolksdorf] at the five, you just never know. I mean seriously, we got to win the game. So I'm going to put the guys out there that's gonna play hard for me, play hard for this university and hopefully we can find the right combination to allow us to be there in the second half with the opportunity to hopefully win the game."
Ollie on DeAndre Daniels' recent rebounding success.
"He's going to get the basketball. He's making it a must and not a should. We always talk about that when we challenge guys. You gotta be a must for you to really get leverage and change your ways. They're starting to identify that and we'll see it and we'll take it game by game."
Ollie on the rebounding against Villanova.
"You know we're going to have to hit first, that's the best defensive and offensive, actually defensive rebounding in the Big East and overall the best rebounding team in the Big East. It's going to be a big conscious effort for my guys to hit first and go get rebounds and try to get out in transition and get some early buckets against them."
Ollie on his back court being shorter than Villanova's "I think they've been small they whole life, so I don't think they was ever the biggest guards on the court. They always had to face that. They relish the opportunity and they got a lot of heart and you can't measure that."
Ollie on Phil Nolan's performance agaisnst Syracuse:
"I want to continue to see that. That was his first time really playing in a big game like that, an ESPN game, and getting 14 minutes, instead of like the spot minutes that I've been giving him. To come in and control the boards for a little while was real, not surprising, but a great opportunity to see him relish in the opportunity and take full advantage of it. I expect the same from him and he expects the same from himself."
Ollie on his relationship with Villanova's Jay Wright:
"He's always a personable guy. He's always somebody you can go up to and talk to. Easy going... He's always been an encourager for me and I really respect him as a coach and I really respect him as a man and a person. He's really one of the coaches I look up to and admire."
Ryan Boatright on win over Syracuse:
"We know last game was a huge win, an emotional win, but all that can be washed away with a loss tomorrow so everything that we're working for and trying to accomplish this year, it rides on the next game, the game after that and the game after that, so all of them are important."
Boatright on avoiding losing streaks. "Just wanting to win so bad. When you drop one, the next one you really want to get back on and get back on track and even if you drop another one, there's no way we were trying to drop three in a row. We get back in the gym, everybody do what they got to do, we get back to the basics and its been working for us."
Boatright on being a smaller guard.
"I've been small my whole life, so just growing up in Chicago, growing up in Aurora, everybody was taller. I've always played against grown men, my dad and my granddad always put me out there in the open gym with grown men so I had to figure out and maneuver how to score and how to not play bad. Just growing up that way, you pick up things as you go along. I always studied Allen Iverson and Isaiah Thomas and stuff like that growing up so I really put a lot of work into it."
DeAndre Daniels on the correlation of rebounding and their success.
"That's when we play best. When we get rebounding we get out and run, that's when we're at our best. Me personally, that gets me going."
Daniels on maintaing the rebounding advantage against Villanova.
"Just do what we've been doing lately in the last couple of games. Boxing everybody out. Everybody has got to come to the boards and it's a whole team thing, so everybody just to box out and rebound."