UConnReport - Preview: UConn and Texas Missing Top Big Men Going into Battle in Austin
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Preview: UConn and Texas Missing Top Big Men Going into Battle in Austin

Everything is bigger in Texas, but do the UConn Huskies have enough size to survive without 7-foot rim protector in Amida Brimah?
Just before jumping into The American action the Huskies (8-3) have one final tune up in the Texas Longhorns (8-3). The Tuesday night contest against unranked teams is slated for the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. (9 p.m. ESPN2).
"I saw them in the Bahamas and I think I caught a couple games on TV," said Daniel Hamilton, who had an older brother, Jordan, play for the Longhorns before going pro. "They are a real good team. They are big and we just have to come out and play physical."
UConn holds a 5-3 edge in the series, but the Longhorns came out with a buzzer-beating win last season at Gampel Pavilion when Jonathan Holmes hit a 3-pointer from the left baseline with 2 seconds left.
UConn hits the road for a two-game trip - also at Tulane on Saturday - riding a three-game winning streak while the Longhorns have taken six consecutive games following a 2-3 start.
Both teams enter the contest a little light in the front court with Brimah (broken finger) out six-to-eight weeks for UConn while Texas lost center Cameron Ridley (12.7 ppg, 10 rpg, 37 blocks) on Sunday to a fractured foot he suffered in practice.
The Huskies have survived their last two contests - both against low-level teams - without Brimah, but have relied more on a small lineup. Nobody on the roster can step in and give the Huskies the shot-blocking, rim-protecting presence that Brimah (7.8 ppg, 27 blocks) offers.
"We just have to play better D and stay in front of our man better," Hamilton said.
Senior Phil Nolan's greatest contribution in three-plus seasons has been his ability to take charges, and while freshman Steve Enoch has tremendous upside, he is still rather raw. That means 6-foot-10 junior Kentan Facey (4.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 9 blocks) and 6-7 fifth-year senior Shonn Miller (13.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 12 blocks) are the team's best options inside.
"Everybody is just going to have to step up and play at another level," Miller said. "We went small a couple times (when I was at Cornell) and I played at the 'five' spot. Whatever I need to do I'm willing to do it."
Facey comes off his first double-double of the season, which he accomplished against Central Connecticut State with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
"I just have to come out with a lot more energy, try to fill the gap and block a lot more shots," said Facey, who played center in high school. "With Amida being out we are kind of more vulnerable on defense because he was our safety net. Without him we have to step up and play better defensive collectively."
NOTES: Sam Cassell Jr. (ankle) reportedly practiced Monday and is expected to dress for the game. Cassell missed the Central game last Wednesday before Christmas break. … The Longhorns are coached by former VCU coach Shaka Smart, who took over the program from Rick Barnes after last season. … UConn came up just short of returning to the AP top 25 poll as the top "other receiving votes" team. … UConn has shot 60 percent or better in three straight games, which is something it has not done in at least 35 years.