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 mid-to-lowmajors.
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.”
SEMINOLE BLOODLINES: Sophomore forward Tyler Polley’s father, Tommy, starred as a linebacker at Florida State before embarking on a six-season NFL career. Tyler attended a lot of Seminole football games as a kid and wanted to play basketball there, but was never offered a scholarship. He holds no grudges. “It’s just another opponent to focus on,” Polley said. “We’ve just got to get this ‘W.’ It’s a big-time win for us, if we do.”
INJURY UPDATES: Phil Cofer, a 6-8 senior forward who led the Seminoles in scoring last season, has yet to play this year due to a foot injury. Cofer was slated to return to practice on Wednesday for the first time, but FSU coach Leonard Hamilton doubted Cofer would play on Saturday “unless I see something that changes my mind. But right now, I’d say it’s very unlikely he’ll be available.”
Meanwhile, 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.”