Jeff Adrien remembers the last time the UConn men’s basketball team drew this kind of buzz nationally.

Jeff Adrien remembers the last time the UConn men’s basketball team drew this kind of buzz nationally.


“Kind of,” the senior forward said Friday. “When we were losing (two years ago), it was like, ‘What’s wrong with UConn?’”


The answer today: Not much.


Riding a 10-game winning streak into the No. 1 national ranking, the Huskies train rolls on today at Gampel Pavilion, albeit in a different gear against Big Ten foe Michigan (6 p.m., ESPN).


Coming off Monday’s convincing 68-51 victory at No. 5 Louisville, UConn (21-1, 10-1 Big East) has largely been the talk of the college basketball world, finding its name on ESPN programs such as “Around the Horn” and “P.T.I.,” splashed on Web sites and magazines, and strewn across message boards.


It’s created the challenge for the Huskies of keeping a level head when few, if any, are doubting their place as a national title contender.


Jim Calhoun, thus far, has been pleased with his team’s attitude, calling the Huskies “somewhat oblivious” to the hype that surrounds them. While he acknowledged no one expected UConn to “win the way we did” Monday, senior guard A.J. Price called it “just another game for us that we felt that we could win.”


They did, and now have they have another against a program they haven’t played in nearly 70 years but a coach in John


“The same,” Adrien said non-chalantly of the team’s current attitude. “(It’s) the same as the second game of the winning streak. We just stay level, we don’t get over our heads — our heads don’t get big or anything like that. We’re still the same; I think that’s good.”


Things change today, though. Emerging from the Big Ten where scoring is at a premium, Michigan (15-8, 5-6) thrives on grinding the game into a half-court contest, relies on Manny Harris (17.7 points per game) and locks teams up with a 1-3-1 defense.


They’re principles somewhat foreign to Big East play, but not to Beilein, who coached West Virginia to a 140-60 record in his five years there, including a win over the Huskies two seasons ago in Morgantown, W. Va.


This season, Michigan started hot with wins over Duke and UCLA (both ranked No. 4 at the time) as well as Illinois before dropping five of six entering Thursday’s 71-51 win over Penn State.


“Pace and tempo of the game becomes critical,” Calhoun said. “It always seems like we’re preparing for something different. It just does. ... We just got off a team that wants to make the game up-and-down as quick as they can with all kinds of pressure, and now we’re playing a team that wants to keep the game a lot more half-court than we’d like to.”


That creates match-up problems, largely between the 7-foot-3 Hasheem Thabeet and Michigan’s five-men-on-the-perimeter approach.


“I have to step up defensively and guard some perimeter dude, (too),” Adrien said.


Then again, Calhoun has had no problems trusting his team to adjust.


“Is (today’s game) a reprieve to some degree? Might be, might be. ... (But) when you’ve won 21 out of 22 games, you should develop some belief,” he said. “I do have a lot more trust and faith.”


Around the rim


- Adrien and Thabeet have been included among the 30 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award, college basketball’s Player of the Year honor.


Adrien (1,427 career points) enters today’s game 14 rebounds shy of 1,000 for his career.


He’d be just the second UConn player ever under Calhoun to join the 1,000-point, 1,000-rebound club; the other is Emeka Okafor.


- Jerome Dyson sat out practice Wednesday and underwent an MRI because he had swelling in his knee. Calhoun pointed to “overuse,” adding, “It obviously won’t affect (today’s) game.”


- With No. 8 Marquette’s 57-56 loss to South Florida on Friday, UConn moved into first place in the Big East.