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JOE D’S NOTEBOOK February 6th, 2014

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Shabazz Napier vs. Temple, Jan. 21, 2014. (Bob Stowell/UConn)

Shabazz Napier vs. Temple, Jan. 21, 2014. (Bob Stowell/UConn)

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THURSDAY, 2-6-14: The Huskies have trudged thru the snow and made it to Cincinnati. Delayed by the storm that hit Connecticut on Wednesday, The UConn men arrived at their team hotel late on Wednesday night for tonight’s big game at 7th ranked Cincinnati. On a far less important note, the play by play broadcaster got here yesterday afternoon after being stuck in snowy Chicago on Tuesday night and the color analyst should be arriving at CVG shortly…which means I have to make this quick since I am the Mayor’s taxi!

It’s been a week since UConn obliterated Houston at Gampel in one of their most complete performances of the season. Any resemblance between the Huskies who lost in Houston on New Years Eve and the one that throttled the Cougars in Storrs is purely co-incidental.You wonder if the week off will be a benefit or a detriment since UConn has been playing extremely well. One thing it did allow was DeAndre Daniels injured ankle to get healthier. How healthy? That is the $64,000 question.Daniels has been practicing but the scope of his ability won’t be known til he takes the floor tonight.

And make no mistake, beating Houston without DeAndre and beating Cincinnati without DeAndre are two completely different animals. The Bearcats are a deserved number seven team in the country. They are perfect at home and perfect in the league and it is not a fluke. Mick Cronin’s team is built on defense. They are among the conference leaders in every defensive category. Justin Jackson is without a doubt the most improved player in the league. Jackson has increased his scoring by almost ten points a game and is a terror off the glass and blocking shots.

If Shabazz Napier isn’t the conference mid season player of the year, then Cincy 5th year senior Sean Kilpatrick is. Kilpatrick is the “ace of spades” as Coach Kevin Ollie likes to call the opponents best player. Like ‘Bazz, he takes games over but is more than just a scorer. It will be a tremendous match-up between him and the UConn back court.

The Huskies have had good success at Fifth Third Arena, winning 3 of 5 games. But this is the best Cincy team that UConn will have faced here.But it’s a very good UConn team that invades the home of the Bearcats tonight.And the memory of the road losses at Houston and SMU has been washed away by the win at Rutgers and most importantly, the win at Memphis.

Ok,time to get the Mayor. We’ll have our pre game at 6:30, hope you can join us.

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