Connecticut rivalry

MIKE GANTER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

Rookie forward Charlie Villaneuva may be holding a slight grudge tonight when the Raptors take on the Charlotte Bobcats.

Seems Villaneuva placed a call to former University of Connecticut teammate Emeka Okafor a couple of days ago and he's still waiting for a return call.

"Yeah, I'm going to have to get on him about that," Villaneuva said smiling the whole time.

Truth is Villaneuva considers Okafor the model for the way all UConn graduates should conduct themselves.

"I watched him,' Villaneuva said of his days with Okafor at UConn. "He was the first one to practice, the first one to the weight room and the last one to leave. He works hard. He's what UConn is all about."

Having said that, and admittedly looking forward to this first pro meeting with his good friend, Villaneuva had clearly already thought about a strategy he hoped what lead to a Raptors win.

Villaneuva feels the best way to beat the Bobcats is to make Okafor pass the ball. If Villaneuva remembers correctly, Okafor can be a little careless with his passes.

As for head-to-head competition, Villaneuva said the two went mano-a-mano more than a few times at UConn with Okafor coming up short the majority of the time according to Villaneuva.

"But don't tell him I said that," Villaneauva added smiling once again.

LAND O GIANTS

The Raptors spent a good portion of their practice yesterday working on using their quickness to overcome what they anticipate will be a disadvantage in the height department tonight against the Bobcats.

"We have to play smart and use our quickness," Villaneuva said.

Chris Bosh, who will be matched up against Okafor for most of the night said that will be key for him. "I have to get to the rim."

From a team standpoint, Bosh said the key will be matching Charlotte's intensity.

"They play hard. They throw the ball down low and they're going to try and bang us," Bosh said of his expectations. "We have to make sure we respond first. We can't let them hit us."


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