The University of South Florida might be 12-12 overall and 3-8 in the American Athletic Conference, but when they step foot on the XL Center floor Wednesday night the 24th-ranked Huskies have no plans on taking them lightly. Coach Kevin Ollie admitted as much recently.
"We can't look ahead, we're not that good to look ahead," he said. "We don't have all-stars on this team. We got to play together and take every day and try to get better. Our margin of error is not that big. We can't under-evaluate these teams, we can't under-evaluate today."
UConn was without DeAndre Daniels for a two-game stretch after he tweaked an ankle, and sophomore guard Omar Calhoun might be on the bench Wednesday after taking a blow to the head against UCF over the weekend. He didn't practice Tuesday and was listed questionable for the USF matchup.
“He’s day to day,” Ollie said. “He got popped in the head pretty good. The symptoms were better than they were yesterday. Hopefully, he’ll keep getting better and we’ll get him back soon.”
As for the remaining healthy Huskies, they will need to be competitive under the basket against a frontcourt that includes 6-9Victor Rudd, 6-7 Zach LeDay, and 6-10 John Egbunu.
"We're going to have to pack the paint," Daniels conceded. "We're going to have to rebound to put ourselves in a position to win the game."
Ollie echoed Daniels' sentiments.
"They've got two big fellows up front and then they've got Rudd, who's a high-flier averaging 15 points a game," the coach said. "Egbunu has a 40-inch vertical, he's averaging like four dunks a game — seriously, four dunks. And Chris Perry is going to be a great player, the things he can do as a freshman, the soft touch, going over either shoulder."
Daniels added: "This is the time you've got to make your push for the tournament."