TAMPA, Fla. – The Huskies arrived in Tampa about 6 and filed into the lobby of their hotel. A long day for them, early practice followed by a commercial flight from Bradley.
Had a chance to talk to Omar Calhoun – remember him? – about the difficult season he is having. He’s a stand-up kid, didn’t run and hide from it. He still believes in himself. “I have a lot of pride,” he said, “I’m still the player I’ve always been. There’s no adversity he can’t get through.”
Shabazz Napier said Calhoun looked like “the old Omar” in practice on Tuesday morning.
This is my top for the Wednesday Courant, BTW. Lots more on it coming on our main website.
Meantime, Kevin Ollie, Napier and the team expects USF to be much tougher on their home court than at XL two weeks ago. If they can lure UConn into a halfcourt game, with their big men, they can be.
Everybody appears healthy for the Huskies, everybody practiced, Ollie said. (“No issues.)
Here’s some more from Ollie:
“SMU is a great defensive team with percentages they hold teams to. You got to move the basketball against them, take ‘UConn shots’ and not your own shots. We did that sometimes, but not consistently enough to beat that defense.
I don’t imagine [the rematch with USF] is going to be 83-40. They’re better now, that was a while ago, the big kids still improving. Martino Brock is playing unbelievable now. Chris Perry is getting better every day, John Egbunu is getting better. Victor Rudd, with the  points against Louisville. I expect a whole different team, a whole different mindset.
They feel comfortable at home, the crowd is behind them, you sleep in your own bed, especially this team, not going up to cold weather. They’re in their element. We’ve been fortunate this year, coming out with road victories.
“… We need to shoot better. The last three games we’re at 38 percent, and we don’t want that trend going into the postseason, the conference tournament. We’ve had games with eight or nine assists, I like to be in the 13-14 range. We’ve got some one-on-one guys and I give them those opportunities, but when you get nine assists you’re not moving the basketball and not making shots. We’ve got to move the basketball and move our bodies to get the right type of shots.”
We had early practice today, 9 a.m., and guys were there at 8. That’s what I like about this team, they’re going to respond the right way.”