UConn men’s basketball may be without Sid Wilson on Saturday as the redshirt freshman is dealing with ankle and thumb injuries, according to head coach Dan Hurley. Wilson hasn’t practiced for the past two days and will be a game-time decision. Hurley said Isaiah Whaley will be in line for more minutes if Wilson can’t go.
“I know Isaiah’s chomping at the bit and that draws him into the mix more,” Hurley said.
There’s also a small chance that redshirt sophomore Mamadou Diarra makes his first appearance of the season. The forward tore his meniscus in his left knee back in June and has only recently returned to practice. Hurley wants to make sure Diarra is fully ready to get back on the court.
“There’s a big difference between two line layups and getting out, hedging a ball screen and having to sprint back, play post defense, box out, sprint,” Hurley said. “There’s a lot more concern about making sure he’s ready because he’s had such a rough history with his knee health. Both short term, long term we just want to make sure he’s not putting himself in a position where he’s more susceptible to injury. “
If Diarra doesn’t go against Tulane, the coach that next Saturday’s game against Wichita State would be a likely target for a return.
The Huskies are off to just a 1-4 start in conference play this season, but it hasn’t been all bad. UConn followed up its win over SMU with a positive performance at Cincinnati, though ultimately falling short. However, the Huskies couldn’t build on that momentum and dropped a disappointing game to Tulsa.
Hurley wants to see a response out of his team against Tulane.
“We better be breathing fire,” he said. “If there’s 25 other people in here, there’s no excuses post game. We have to be absolutely desperate, urgent. I know I’m bothered by our performance (at Tulsa), the 30 minutes I watched in person and the 10 I watched closed circuit. An unacceptable display, especially at the defensive end... We need to play at the level we did at SMU and Cincinnati.”
Junior guard Christian Vital echoed that sentiment.
“We need to win these two games at home, there’s no question about it,” he said. “That’s why you come to UConn: to face challenges, not usually like this but we’re used to winning, at least the program is. That’s why we’re here, we have a challenge to face and it’s on us to see if we’re going to step up or not.”
- UConn does not play a midweek game this upcoming week and have just two games slated. With the extra time, Hurley said he’ll be hitting the road to do recruiting. Something interesting he mentioned was that the trip will include a few junior college stops.
- Christian Vital is just 8 points away from 1,000 for his career.
- As mentioned earlier, Saturday’s game against Tulane has been moved up to 2 p.m. due to projected snow. The game will be shown live on CBS Sports’ website with a re-air coming during the original time slot at 7:30 p.m. on the network.