UConn holds edge over Vandy - East Valley Tribune: Sports

UConn holds edge over Vandy

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Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2004 1:25 am | Updated: 6:04 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Connecticut and Vanderbilt are familiar foes.

The Huskies and Commodores played the past two seasons with UConn winning both.

"Hopefully, we have made some progress since the last time we played them," said Kevin Stallings, the Vanderbilt coach. "Watching them on tape, I certainly think they have also."

UConn coach Jim Calhoun sees a better Vanderbilt team than the one he played in December 2002.

"They've had a magical season where they've beaten some of the best people in the country," Calhoun said. "They're a terrific basketball team."

Calhoun's biggest concern is Vanderbilt's perimeter shooting.

"We have to protect against the 3s," he said, noting Vandy attempted 37 treys against Florida in a regular-season game. "They are tough to defend."

WINNING BROWN

A victory over Vanderbilt would give UConn senior point guard Taliek Brown his 100th victory. Brown has not always been a fan favorite, but he has fought off all challengers to start for four years.

"Everyone out there always seems to focus on the negative and point out that out, never paying attention to all the positive that has happened and that I brought out," Brown said. "When I started to do that, I was able to be confident and comfortable with my game."

LOVIN’ THE ’DOG

Vanderbilt had extra incentive in its first-round game against Western Michigan.

During the selection show, two of three commentators picked the Broncos. Vanderbilt felt slighted as if its upset of fourth-ranked Mississippi State in the SEC tournament, its wins over Kentucky and Florida meant nothing.

"And we're still not generating any respect," Stallings said. "Our players felt that. It is understandable that we are an underdog in this game, but that first game we weren't getting any respect."

The Rodney Daingerfield gig is Vandy. "I think we have kind of embraced that role since the end of last season," star forward Matt Freije said. "We know we can play and just go out and show everybody that."

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