Connecticut vs Boston College

Time: 07:00 P.M. EST
  •  

When Boston College departed the Big East, former Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun vowed never to play the Eagles again.

Now neither team is in that conference, and both current coaches are open to playing each other regularly.

These New England rivals match up for the first time in nine seasons Thursday night when the 18th-ranked Huskies meet the Eagles in the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden.

When Boston College (1-3) announced it would leave the Big East before the 2003-04 season, Calhoun famously declared that he would never schedule the school again.

These teams have not met since the Eagles' final Big East season in 2004-05. BC won the lone meeting 75-70 that season and these clubs finished tied atop the conference with 13-3 records.

The situation has changed now that Connecticut (4-0) also is no longer part of the Big East, having joined the American Athletic Conference. Second-year Huskies coach Kevin Ollie went 8-0 against the Eagles in his playing days with UConn, and he wouldn't mind starting an annual series.

"It's a great team right in our region here and we had a lot of wars in the Big East," Ollie said. "I know I remember a lot of them when I played at the University of Connecticut. We'd love to rekindle that rivalry again, and coach Steve Donahue is doing a great job."

Donahue is in his fourth season and has echoed those thoughts about facing Connecticut.

Ollie reminisced about how the Big East matchups between these teams featured great guard play, and that should be the case Thursday.

The Huskies' top scorers are guards Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright, who combine to average 26.3 points. Napier is a native of the Boston area who is among the nation's leaders with 7.8 assists per game.

While UConn has five players who average double figures in points, Boston College has less balance with three such players and the explosive Olivier Hanlan leading the ACC in scoring at 24.5 points per game.

Hanlan scored a season-high 38 as BC earned its first win Sunday, 82-79 over Florida Atlantic.

"Hanlan is one of the top point guards not only in the ACC but in the country, being a sophomore," Ollie said. "He's doing a wonderful job."

Both teams like to shoot 3-pointers, with the Eagles averaging 20.0 attempts and the Huskies 19.0. UConn is among the nation's leaders in 3-point percentage at 52.6.

Neither Napier nor Boatright was UConn's leading scorer in Sunday's 77-60 victory over Boston University. DeAndre Daniels scored 24 points after totaling 19 over his first three games.

There was concern despite the one-sided final score for the Huskies, who built a 19-point first-half lead that was cut to five at the break.

"I'm pleased with the 4-0 start but we want to have that killer mentality when we get up on teams to finish teams off," Ollie said. "Two of our four games we allowed teams to come back."

Thursday's other MSG matchup is between Indiana and Washington. The winner of that game and this one will square off Friday, as will the losers of both games.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 

American Athletic
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
SMU17-130-513
Cincinnati16-230-612
Houston12-621-1154
UCF11-724-1269
Memphis9-919-13121
UConn9-916-17119
Tulsa8-1015-17132
Temple7-1116-16135
E. Carolina6-1215-18214
Tulane3-156-25298
So. Florida1-177-23316
ACC
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina14-433-75
Florida St.12-626-914
Louisville12-625-97
Notre Dame12-626-1023
Duke11-728-96
Virginia11-723-1118
Va. Tech10-822-1148
Miami (Fla.)10-821-1242
Syracuse10-819-1584
Wake Forest9-919-1439
Georgia Tech8-1021-16106
Clemson6-1217-1668
Pittsburgh4-1416-1774
NC State4-1415-17141
Boston College2-169-23219

Related Video

 

CBSSports Shop

Men's Nike White Villanova Wildcats 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt

Villanova Wildcats 2016 National Champs
Get the Locker Room Gear!
Shop Now

 
 
 
Other Games
UAB 94 Final
NMEX 97
LBSU 61 Final
MICH 85
MIDTN 59 Final
FLA 79
FSU 85 Final
VCU 67
NH 53 Final
MU 58
BGSU 64 Final
WISC 88
WSU 74 Final
GONZ 90