NO. 11 FLORIDA STATE vs. UCONN
When: Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Records: UConn 7-2, Florida State 7-1
Radio: UConn/IMG Sports Network, WAVZ-New Haven (1300 AM), 97.9 FM-ESPN Hartford
KEEP AN EYE ON
⏩ BIG-GAME ERIC: Hurley has no answers for why senior center Eric Cobb is averaging 13.6 points and 10 boards against Power 5 foes (Syracuse, Iowa, Arizona), but only 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in six games against midto-low-majors.
That said, he’s anticipating some good production from Cobb on Saturday, telling him, “I guess we’ll be seeing you, big fella, on Saturday. Big Game Eric.”
Hurley did offer one theory on the discrepancies in Cobb’s performance.
“I think it’s a function of, when you play the low-to-mid (majors), they are so small and they’re running this Princeton stuff with the centers being 30 feet from the basket. Eric’s been really good offensively, really good on the offensive glass. He has struggled at times defensively and on the defensive glass. I think that gets exposed when you get stuck in space, playing against real sophisticated concepts. Obviously, we’re playing a team that’s real physical, real tall. So, this is a game that we expect Eric to be ready to play in.”
⏩ SIZE MATTERS: Florida State figures to have a size advantage at just about every position, from 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje to 6-7 swingman Terance Mann to 6-5 point guard Trent Forrest. How does Hurley combat the Seminoles’ overall size and strength advantages?
“We’ve got to be smart, opportunistic with our transition. I don’t think we can be real loose with our possessions. Gotta be opportunistic, try to push the pace and get some great shots early. I don’t think we’re necessarily gonna look to slow the game down, but we are gonna look to make sure we get quality shots, make sure we don’t get into a wild, athletic affair with a team that probably has more physical advantages than we have.”
FSU does turn the ball over at a rather high rate — 15.6 per game. It also turns its opponent over at a 17.5 per-game rate. The Huskies have been turnover-prone, particularly against their three prior Power 5 opponents, averaging 18 per contest in those showdowns.
⏩ INJURY UPDATES: UConn forward Mamadou Diarra won’t be back by the early-to-mid-December timeline Hurley initially had hoped for. Diarra, who had knee surgery over the summer and has had problems with his knee the past few years, could be back for the Huskies’ American Athletic Conference opener at South Florida on Jan. 2 — but even that seems somewhat unlikely.
“We just don’t want him back too soon,” said Hurley. “He’s had such a tough history with (his knee), we want to make sure he’s right.”