To say that the players and coaches on the UConn menâ€™s basketball team were disappointed in the teamâ€™s Big East opener is an understatement.
The good news for the Huskies is they donâ€™t have to wait long for another opportunity to prove themselves in what looks like an extremely difficult conference.
â€śWe have 19 more of these. Weâ€™re one of the best teams in the league,â€ť UConn coach Dan Hurley said after Saturdayâ€™s 57-53 loss to Providence. â€śWe struggled shooting the ball (Saturday). Itâ€™s a disappointing loss to a team thatâ€™s going to play at the top of the league. Weâ€™ll see them again.
â€śWeâ€™re vying for a Big East regular season championship. So we have to watch the film, we have to make corrections, and we have to get ready to go to Marquette and go get a win. This league this year is going to be much difference than last yearâ€™s league.â€ť
Indeed the Huskies (9-3) are now in Milwaukee for tonightâ€™s game against Marquette. Itâ€™s just their second true road game of the season and their first in conference play.
UConn enters the game, wing Tyrese Martin said, with a renewed focus. He spoke of the leadership he and teammate R.J. Cole were set to display following the loss to the Friars.
â€śPractice being leaders. Both of us have to set the tone in practice. It canâ€™t always be the coaches trying to rev us up. This team is too old for that. It stops now, going forward,â€ť Martin said.
Marquette (8-4) lost its Big East opener to Xavier on Saturday.
UConn won both games with the Eagles last season, including a 65-54 triumph in Milwaukee after star James Bouknight was injured in the first half. Tyler Polley had 23 points off the bench in that one.
Speaking of Polley, the Huskies could use a big game from the fifth-year senior. He and most of the other UConn shooters struggled mightily against the Friars.
UConn get some help in the post today, too. Center Adama Sanogo, who missed the teamâ€™s last four games with an abdominal injury, could return tonight.
Hurley told the New Haven Register late Monday night that Sanogo might play some limited minutes tonight.
â€śHeâ€™s got a shot,â€ť Hurley said. â€śIt was encouraging. He was able to practice (Monday). Heâ€™s got to see how he feels (today).â€ť
With or without Sanogo, the Huskies want to feel better about themselves heading into the holiday break.
â€śGo get a good road win so we feel good going into Christmas,â€ť Hurley said. â€śThis is just the first of many, many big games. Weâ€™re going to get healthier and weâ€™re going to play better.â€ť