Case in point: In a win at Cincinnati last weekend, UConn shot 50 percent from the floor and made 10-of-19 3-point tries. Three days earlier in a loss at home to Marquette, the Huskies shot 36 percent and missed 17 of their 22 3s. Connecticut in the past few weeks beat Georgetown by shooting 54 percent and lost to St. John's while shooting 36 percent.
It's the same thing with Walker, who sets the pace for the Huskies.
"You have to force him into taking tough shots and not giving him step-in 3s,'' said West Virginia point guard Joe Mazzulla, who figures to draw much of the task of defending Walker. "It's the same thing we did to Hansbrough. We have to try to do that with [Walker].''
Hansbrough would be Notre Dame's Ben, another candidate for player of the year. Hansbrough fouled out and made only 7-of-19 shots in a 12-point loss at WVU last weekend. The same Hansbrough scored 30 Monday night against Villanova.
While Walker is UConn's primary threat to score, he isn't the only one. Alex Oriakhi is a 6-9, 240-pound sophomore forward who averages just over 10 points and ranks second in the Big East in rebounding and fifth in blocked shots.
Tonight's game is one of two crucial ones on the Big East schedule in trying to break the logjam in the middle of the standings and elevate teams into the top eight in the conference and a first-round league tournament bye. WVU, UConn, Cincinnati and Marquette are all 9-7 and Cincinnati plays at Marquette tonight.
Tonight's outcomes won't determine the seeding, though. There is a full slate of games on Saturday, including West Virginia's home game with No. 11 Louisville. Including Villanova (9-8) and Georgetown (10-7), there are six teams all within a game of each other in positions six through 11 in the standings. The only league teams that have clinched any sort of a bye so far are Pitt and Notre Dame at the top of the standings.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.