Connecticut's roster has been decimated by injuries, so much so that coach Kevin Ollie gave the Huskies Sunday and Monday off from practice. UConn practiced early Tuesday morning in Storrs and then traveled to Tampa for Wednesday night's game at South Florida.
As feared since he fractured and dislocated his right index finger against Cincinnati on Saturday, the season has ended prematurely for UConn reserve Niels Giffey. He will not need surgery but doctors indicated he may be out of action for six to 10 weeks. There was no reason for him to attempt delaying his rehabilitation with just two games remaining and no postseason this season for UConn because of the NCAA ban.
"It's unfortunate," Giffey told The Hartford Courant upon arrival at the team hotel Tuesday afternoon. "There is no way I could get back in that time, so we will just start the process, see different doctors."
The hope is that Giffey will have enough time to rehab and still play in Germany this summer before returning to UConn for next season.
It seems unlikely that junior point guard Shabazz Napier will be able to play against South Florida. Napier did not practice Tuesday but did accompany the team to Tampa, still wearing a walking boot on the right foot he injured against Georgetown last week.
UConn said it would be a game-time decision regarding Napier but no one seems optimistic. When Napier missed Saturday's game at Cincinnati, it snapped his streak of 102 consecutive games in a UConn uniform.
"It's responding to the treatment," Ollie said, "but the foot is still a little tender."
UConn's season ends Saturday with a game against Providence at Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies are limping to the finish line.
"I don't have that many guys," Ollie said of his personnel issues. "I'm going to go with what I've got. This has been a wonderful group to coach all year."
There was other news impacting UConn basketball and the divorce of the Big East schools on Tuesday. According to reports, the final details are being worked out between the Catholic 7 schools, which are leaving to form a new conference, and the remaining Big East schools, including UConn.
The Catholic 7 are going to keep the Big East name and the tournament at Madison Square Garden. But it appears UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida will split a significant portion of the $100 million that will go to the football schools in the settlement.
That means UConn could walk away with close to $30 million as a result of the negotiations. Things are moving fast and there is significant buzz that the XL Center in Hartford is under strong consideration for the first basketball tournament for the new conference – whatever it might be named. Those are two good developments for UConn, which has faced so much bad news through realignment.
No one has better sources on realignment and changing face of the Big East than former Boston Globe reporter Mark Blaudschun. For unofficial details, which could become official soon, read his most recent blog posts here.
If everything goes down as indicated, Saturday's game against Providence will the final Big East game in UConn history.
In addition, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com has an interesting story about the possibility of federal law violations by the NCAA in the UConn infractions case involving Nate Miles. If anything this is another condemnation of the NCAA enforcement process. It will have impact on UConn or the penalties imposed on the Huskies.
But you can read the story here.