Calhoun is expected back on the sidelines as the No. 14 Huskies try to avoid a season-high third straight loss Sunday to the Bearcats, who are looking for a fourth consecutive victory in this Big East contest.
After falling 71-58 at No. 16 Louisville on Feb. 18, and 74-67 in overtime at home to Marquette on Thursday, Connecticut (20-7, 8-7) is in danger of dropping three in a row for the first time this season.
Losers in five of eight, the Huskies are tied for ninth in the Big East. The top eight teams receive a bye in the upcoming conference tournament.
UConn’s latest defeat came in its first game since the NCAA leveled sanctions against the program over recruiting violations. Among the penalties was the suspension of Calhoun for next season’s first three Big East games. Calhoun, cited for failing to monitor and promote an atmosphere of compliance within his program, took responsibility for the violations.
He will be back on the bench after missing Thursday’s game to be with his family in New Hampshire following the death of his sister-in-law.
“My personal feelings about this situation and the NCAA’s findings will remain private and I will not have any further public comment on this matter,” Calhoun said. “I am energized and excited about the remainder of the regular season and what the postseason may hold, and our program remains committed to making UConn and all associated with it proud of what we do.”
Calhoun hopes the Huskie faithful will have something to get excited about as his club tries to bounce back against Cincinnati (22-6, 9-6), which is ahead of UConn in the league standings and has victories at home over Louisville and at No. 11 Georgetown in the last three games.
Another win over a Top 25 team could cement the Bearcats’ first NCAA appearance in Mick Cronin’s five seasons as coach.
“We are going to control what we can control and the outcome of our own games,” Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates told the school’s official website.
Cincinnati snapped a five-game skid against UConn by sweeping the two-game season series in 2009-10. That included a 60-48 home victory Feb. 13, 2010.
UConn star Kemba Walker (23.0 points per game) had 14 points in that contest, and has just 30 combined on 9-of-28 shooting in three career games versus the Bearcats.
Walker scored 27 against Marquette, but missed four shots and committed one of his four turnovers in overtime. The Huskies committed a season-high 17 turnovers after turning it over 16 times versus Louisville.
UConn also shot 36.6 percent the last two games.
Cincinnati, which shot just 39.3 percent in beating the Huskies twice last season, made only 42.0 percent of its shots in Wednesday’s 58-46 win over Georgetown. However, the Bearcats zone defense held the Hoyas to 25.0 percent.
Cincinnati ranks among the Big East leaders holding opponents to 39.2 percent shooting, and leads the conference allowing 58.2 points per contest.
The 6-foot-9 Gates, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds against the Hoyas, has totaled 38 points the last two games. However, he’s averaged 7.7 in three versus UConn.