March 7, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 19 University of Connecticut men’s basketball team wraps up regular season play when it travels to KFC Yum! Center for an American Athletic Conference showdown with Louisville on Saturday, March 8 at 2 p.m. The game can be seen on CBS with Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery on the call and will be broadcasted live on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.
The Huskies (24-6) most recently defeated Rutgers, 69-63, on Senior Day at Gampel Pavilion on Wednesday. Senior guard Shabazz Napier (Roxbury, Mass.) led all scorers with 26 points, including 7-of-11 shooting from three-point range. Senior forward Niels Giffey (Berlin, Germany) tallied a career-high 16 points, finishing his night 6-of-9 from the field in 36 minutes. Senior forward Tyler Olander (Mansfield, Conn.) earned the start and posted four points and three rebounds in 13 minutes in his final home game.
UConn re-entered the AP Top-25 after a one week absence, checking in at No. 19. The Huskies are one of five American Athletic Conference teams in the rankings, joining Louisville (11), Cincinnati (15), SMU (18), and Memphis (20). UConn also jumped back into the USA Today poll, ranking No. 19 with 170 points.
The Huskies and Cardinals have met 15 times since the all-time series began in the 2000-01 season, with Louisville holding a slim 9-6 edge. The Cardinals sport a three-game winning streak over the Huskies, dating back to the last Connecticut win on March 12, 2011 in the BIG EAST Tournament Final, capping UConn’s five-day tournament run.
The Huskies dropped a 76-64 contest to the Cardinals on Jan. 18 at Gampel, despite a 30-point performance from Napier. Louisville brought a 10 point lead into the locker room at halftime, connecting on 15 of its first 30 shots and held the Husky offense to just 34.6 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes to seal the victory.
Napier has a chance to move up on some of UConn’s most storied lists on Saturday, needing just two points to tie Kemba Walker (2008-11) for 7th all-time with 1,783 points. The senior guard is also closing in on current UConn head coach Kevin Ollie’s mark of 619 career assists, which ranks third in program history.
Ollie can close out his first two regular seasons at the helm of the Huskies with 45 victories in 61 games. Currently, Ollie sports the highest winning percentage (.733) of any Connecticut coach who has coached more than 20 games. In addition to his winning percentage, Ollie is the only coach in UConn history to post 20-win seasons in his first two years at the helm of the Huskies.