The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - PAGE 2 -

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


⏩ 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.”

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