CINCINNATI – It’s 20 minutes before the game, do you know where Shabazz Napier is?
This we know, Napier will not start for UConn today at Cincinnati,
He arrived with the Huskies at Fifth Third Arena about 11:45, but has not come out for warm-ups. Napier, who h as the sprained right foot, stayed back in the locker room where he was getting treatment and doing exercises right up until the last minute. It’s literally going to be a “game time” decision as to whether he will try to play at all, though privately UConn folks have not been optimistic this morning.
About 15 minutes before game time, UConn listed its starting lineup as R.J. Evans, Tyler Olander, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels and Omar Calhoun. … Calhoun’s sprained right wrist is still wrapped, so he, too, will be limited.
Napier has never missed a game, has played in all 102 since he came to UConn.
Evans, the post-grad transfer from Holy Cross, and Salem, Conn., native, will not be able to say he started a game for UConn. Not the circumstances he’d want, sure, but you know he will be excited.
Look for the Bearcats to play with desperation today. They’ve lost three in a row, and need to get this 20th win to bolster their NCAA tournament hopes and Big East tournament seedings.
“We expect their best challenge,” Kevin Ollie said Friday. “… if [Napier] can’t play, other guys will have to step up, and they’re looking forward to the challenge.”
I will update this post should Napier come out, etc. And you can follow me on twitter @AmoreCourant for continual updates.