Notre Dame coach Mike Brey nearly had to take a break from watching Connecticut, which will tip off against the Irish in Purcell Pavilion shortly.
"I watched them (Sunday) and at times I wanted to turn it off the way they were rebounding," Brey said Monday.
You can hardly blame Brey for wanting to avert his eyes to what the Huskies did against Louisville on the glass. Though Connecticut lost 78-76, it finished with a 50-22 rebounding edge.
UConn (17-12, 7-9 Big East) enters tonight's game against Notre Dame (19-10, 8-8) as the second best offensive rebounding team in the league at 39.9 per game. The Irish are third in the league in rebounding defense, averaging 32.4.
When the Huskies defeated the Irish 82-70 Jan. 2 in Harford, they had a 42-35 rebounding edge and scored 50 points in the paint.
Connecticut has a platoon of big men it can deploy to crash the boards from 6-foot-9 Stanley Robinson to 6-10 Gavin Edwards and 7-foot Charles Okwandu. Keeping the Huskies' rebounds to a minimum, especially on the defensive end, will be critical for Notre Dame tonight.
"You definitely need to find a body and put a body on somebody," said Irish forward Carleton Scott, who has averaged 6.4 rebounds the last three games starting in place of the injured Luke Harangody (knee).
"They can jump. There are some really athletic guys on that team."
While rebounding will be key tonight for the Irish, they will also have to keep the intensity of fighting for an NCAA tournament berth that helped them score upset wins last week over Georgetown and Pittsburgh.
And with UConn – which returned to the NCAA tournament picture recently like Notre Dame – in the same boat, tonight's game will likely have the feel of an elimination game. Even though both teams have one more regular-season game remaining before the Big East tournament starts March 9.
Guard Tory Jackson said the Irish will try not to think about the postseason implications of tonight's game.
"You just got to go play and have fun," Jackson said. "It's Connecticut, so it's always a fun game. We can't put any pressure on ourselves."