The UConn Huskies continue to struggle this season, and are once again faced with a losing streak. After beating the number one team in the nation on January 23, UConn has lost two straight. First, the Huskies lost to unranked Providence by 14 points, then this past Saturday they were unable to overcome a slow start to Marquette and lost on a last second shot.
Problems with turnovers, inconsistent play from Kemba Walker, Jerome Dyson, and Alex Oriakhi, and no team chemistry on the court, are just a few of the issues that the team has been dealing with over the last two games.
The Huskies hope to end the losing streak at two, when they travel to Louisville on Monday to take on the Cardinals. The Huskies have yet to win a true road game, and are only 3-5 in Big East games. Head Coach Jim Calhoun will miss his fifth consecutive game due to a medical leave of absence. The Huskies are 2-2 since he left the team.
Crowds at sporting events have the opportunity to affect the outcome of the game. This isn’t always the case. And it hasn’t always been the case at UConn basketball games, but on Saturday the crowd at Gampel Pavilion made a difference. A BIG DIFFERENCE! The Crowd at the UConn vs Texas game may have been the best Gampel Crowd ever.
People who have covered, been around, or been apart of UConn basketball for many years, including the two championship seasons(1999,2004), agree that they have never heard Gampel as loud as it was on Saturday. Mike Anthony, who covers UConn Men’s Basketball for the Hartford Courant, had this to say about noise during the game:
“I have covered UConn since the start of the 2005-06 season and have attended every game over the last five seasons. I have never heard a building get louder than Gampel Pavilion was Saturday. As UConn made its second-half charge, my ears were literally ringing. George Blaney told the Huskies after the game that they should thank the fans, particularly the students. … Look, Gampel has rocked before. But in my mind, not quite like this. The Huskies needed a win, need a response. The crowd needed to help and, man, did it ever.”
The UConn players agree. They realized how energetic the crowd was, and they responded. “The fans, I’ve never seen them like that before in my four years here,” senior Jerome Dyson said. “They really helped us. … The crowd is what got us into it. Once we started making a big play here, a big play there, and the crowd got going, the energy just went through us. And we kept it going.”
I was apart of the student section on Saturday, and from my point of view, I have never been apart of a louder, more energetic, or more enthusiastic student section the one at Gampel on Saturday. Students began camping out early Friday morning in anticipation for the game. I got in line around 9:00 am on Saturday with a group of friends(shout-out to all of ya’ll) and as we waited we were lucky enough to be apart of the crowd who got to go in a watch the UConn shoot around. At the shoot around, George Blaney spoke to the students and was complementary of the UConn faithful.
“The team asked me the other day, how they were going to be able to handle Texas,” said Blaney. “But, I asked them, ‘How is Texas going to handle Gampel?'”
The student section was amazing, and they brought the arena to life. The rest of the crowd joined in with the students and created a real home-court advantage for the Huskies. All of the Husky fans joined in and bonded together to create an atmosphere that will be hard to duplicate. So many people played a role in the atmosphere. The Pink Hat Kid, Big Red, the alumni and donors, and everyone else in attendance were apart of the greatest Gampel crowd ever, and just possibly the best home-court crowd in the nation this season. Yes, that is my opinion, but many others agree with me, including ESPN College Basketball Analyst Andy Katz, who was in attendance for the game.
“Gampel Pavilion was the loudest arena I’ve heard all year, and maybe the loudest I’ve heard in the last few years,” said Katz.
The crowd got repaid for their hard work during the game, as they were allowed to rush the court after the Huskies defeated Texas, 88-74. It was a great moment for the University of Connecticut, with a national television audience watching.
Being apart of the crowd and witnessing such a big win, was easily one of the best moments of my UConn career, and is something I’ll always remember.
SO DO YOU AGREE WITH ME? VOTE… And if you were at the game, share your favorite moment!
For the first time all year the UConn men’s basketball team defeated a ranked opponent. Funny thing about that, is that it happened to be the number one team in the nation.
Overcoming a 10-point second half deficit, UConn fought back and took the lead with a little over 12 minutes left in the game. They wouldn’t look back. Behind the spectacular performance of senior Jerome Dyson, who had a career high 32 points, the Huskies were able to hold off the Texas Longhorns for their first big victory of the season.
The Huskies were once again without Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun, who is still on a medical leave of absence. Associate Head Coach George Blaney has stepped in and has led the Huskies to, two straight victories. This win was big for UConn, but the players made it clear they wanted this one for Coach Calhoun.
“We’ve got to play for him,” said Dyson, who said Calhoun was proud and excited on the phone after the game. “We know these wins will help him get better, because it will take some of the stress off him having to worry about us, and he can focus on getting himself better.”
Along with Dyson’s strong performance, Kemba Walker and Stanley Robinson also had big games, finishing with 19 and 17 points respectfully. The supporting cast of Gavin Edwards, Donnell Beverly, and Ater Majok also played a prominent role in the big win.
The Huskies played well on the court, but they received a lot of help from the sell-out crowd at Gampel Pavillion. The student section was at an all time best, and gave the team and the rest of the crowd energy. The students were able to celebrate the win with the Huskies, as they rushed the court once the game ended.
The win gives the Huskies confidence heading forward, and Blaney realizes how big of a win this is for the team.
“Now you know you’re good, you know you can play,” said George Blaney. “You just beat the number-one team in the country, so that should tell you that you’re good.”
The number one team in the nation will be playing at Gampel Pavillion on Saturday, but for the first time that team won’t be UConn. The Texas Longhorns(17-1) travel to Storrs to take on the Huskies, making them the first team to be ranked number one to play as a visitor at Gampel.
The Longhorns may be the number one team in the nation, but that will end next week…no matter what the outcome is on Saturday. Kansas State and former UConn player Curtis Kelly beat the Longhorns on Tuesday, giving Texas their first loss of the season.
The Huskies(12-6) hope to pull off a similar upset, but they are a man down, with head coach Jim Calhoun still out on a medical leave of absence. In their first game since Calhoun leaving, UConn defeated St. Johns 75-59 at the XL Center on Wednesday. Associate Head Coach George Blaney coached the team in Calhoun’s absence, which is something he’s done a few times over his nine years at the university.
Blaney is optimistic with UConn’s chances against the top ranked Longhorns. “We practiced with some great energy and some enthusiasm,” Blaney said. “They realize who is coming to town tomorrow and they’re anxious to play the game. Anytime you pick yourself up from two losses or three losses, as we’ve had, and you get a win, it makes you feel better about what you’re doing. You probably can get their attention a little better when that happens. But I think Texas gets their attention. It’s something that every kid dreams about that comes to Connecticut, to play these kind of games and to be in this kind of national spotlight.”
UConn will need great play out of Seniors Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson, and Gavin Edwards, if they hope to compete. Besides Edwards, UConn needs another big man to step up and play well. UConn does not get a lot of scoring out of Alex Oriakhi, Ater Majok, or Charles Okwandu, but one or more of these guys will need to step up and put some points on the board if the Huskies hope to get a win.
UConn needs to be focused on Texas, and need to play within themselves. Coach Blaney knows the Huskies have a chance to win, but its all about playing the game, and not getting caught up in the hype.
“We’ve played the best schedule in the country, so we know what playing teams like this is like. They know what it’s like and they’ll be ready to play. The outcome of the game will depend on who plays better. That’s what we keep talking about with this group. It’s today. How are you going to play today.”
UConn Head Coach Jim Calhoun is taking a medical leave of absence from the team. His doctor is worried about his health and wants to make sure Calhoun is healthy before he coaches again. Marcus Lynam has more from Storrs, CT.
University of Connecticut Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun will take a medical leave of absence from his head coach position, effective immediately, it was announced Tuesday.
The following is a statement from University of Connecticut Health Center physician Peter Schulman, M.D., Jim Calhoun’s primary care physician:
“It is my recommendation that Coach Calhoun take a medical leave from his coaching position to address some temporary medical issues, none of which involve any previous medical conditions that he has dealt with.”
The following is a statement from UConn Director of Athletics Jeffrey A. Hathaway:
“Our primary concern is Coach Calhoun’s health and his complete recovery. We will do everything possible to support Coach during this time. Jim and I both know that the men’s basketball program is in very capable hands under the leadership of Associate Head Coach George Blaney.”
For the first time since the end of the 2006-2007 season, the UConn men’s basketball team has lost three games in a row. Sunday’s loss to unranked Michigan droped the Huskies record to 11-6 on the season. That’s right, UConn already has 6 losses. They had 4 all of last year. The losses to Pittsburgh and Michigan have led to the Huskies being unranked in this weeks AP Top 25 Basketball Poll. It’s the first time all season the Huskies haven’t been ranked.
The Huskies’ six losses have all been close games(expect for the Duke game), but UConn puts themselves in a hole that they can never get out of. The same things keep hindering the team: poor free-throw shooting(especially at the end of games), lack of execution in the halfcourt offense, lack of rebounding, and the lack of scoring from the frontcourt players(with the exception of Gavin Edwards).
Courtesy of the Hartford Courant
“We’ll play anybody tough,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. “We’ve won close games, and now we’ve lost some close games. We’ll compete with anybody in America. I said [last week] I have no question about the heart of my team. None. I have at times, questions, about if they truly understand some of the ways in which we need to change.”
The Huskies need to change, and they need to change fast. With only 14 games remaining on the year, UConn needs to start picking up wins just to secure a NCAA Tournament berth.
“There’s a chance that we could not make it into the [NCAA] Tournament,” Gavin Edwards said. “The team has to regroup and refocus. Everybody has to figure out what they have to do to get the team to win. It’s not even just the players. It’s the coaches, everybody. It’s a joint effort.”
UConn hopes to figure stuff out this week with two big games on the schedule. On Wednesday, St.Johns comes to the XL Center in a Big East Conference game, then on Saturday the number one team in the nation, the Texas Longhorns, comes to Gampel for a nationaly televised game. The Huskies need two wins this week with each game becoming more important.
UConn Seniors Marcus Easley, Andre Dixon, and Lindsey Witten have been invited to participate in this year’s NFL Draft Combine. The combine runs from February 24 to March 2 in Indianapolis. The list of players invited has yet to be finalized, meaning other UConn Seniors might get a chance.
The combine gives players a chance to showcase their skills against elite talent from all around the country. Events at the combine include the 40-yard dash, shuttle run, position workouts, bench press, and interview. At last year’s combine, former UConn Huskies Donald Brown, Darius Butler, William Beatty, and Cody Brown all made a name for themselves at the event, which helped their draft stock.
Easley, Dixon, and Witten will be working out until the combine preparing for the different events.
Football season just ended a week ago, but the excitement surrounding the UConn football program is continuing. Heading into next fall, many Husky fans feel that the team has a chance to be really special. Possibly the best team in UConn history. Well we’re still 8 1/2 months away from the September 4th season opener against Michigan, but it’s not only UConn fans who are excited about next fall.
Rivals.com has come out with an early(REALLY EARLY) look at the preseason top-25 for the 2010 season. The experts at Rivals.com have the Huskies ranked 19th. Thats a major step for this program, due to the fact UConn never really gets any hype in the preseason, and have never been in the preseason top-25 rankings.
Rivals had this to say about the Huskies:
“The Huskies finished 8-5 for the second consecutive season, but they were awfully close to a major breakthrough. None of the losses were by more than four points. If the Huskies can turn those close losses into narrow victories, as they did over the last month of the season, Connecticut could contend for the Big East title in 2010. The Huskies must replace leading receiver Marcus Easley, Big East sack leader Lindsey Witten and two starting defensive backs.”
It’s a while till the season begins, and it’s only a really early look at next season, but it just shows that the Huskies have something to be excited about, and national media agrees.