UConn Football is one win away from winning the Big East Championship and heading to its first ever BCS Bowl Game. Marcus Lynam and Ryan Grace break down the Huskies chances.
Monthly Archives: November 2010
UConn was very impressive over Thanksgiving break out in Maui. Marcus Lynam and Ryan Grace discuss three topics concerning the now 7th ranked Huskies.
– UConn extended their winning streak to 4 games on Saturday, when they defeated defending Big East Champ Cincinnati 38-17. They improve to 7-4 (4-2 in the Big East) on the year. The win also puts them one win away from heading to the program’s first ever BCS bowl (most likely the Fiesta Bowl out in Arizona). UConn heads down to Tampa to take on South Florida this Saturday to finish up the regular season. USF is coming off an impressive win at Miami, and would love nothing more than to ruin UConn’s BCS dreams. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 8pm.
– Jordan Todman had another great game on Saturday, as he rushed for 175 yards and 3 touchdowns on 31 carries. Todman has gone over 100 yards rushing in every game this season except one (@ Louisville). For his efforts Todman was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week. “Our coaches do a heck of a job, and me, I just pretty much do what they say,” Todman said after Saturday’s game. “I’ve got the talent and the ability and that helps, but they do the studying, they do all the work and they put us in a situation, a position to make plays and be successful.”
– UConn picked up two more commitments this weekend for their 2011 recruiting class. Deshon Foxx, a running back from Lynchburg, Virginia and offensive lineman Dalton Gifford of North Bridgton, Maine both committed to play for the Huskies next season.
– In Big East news, the conference announced on Monday that Texas Christian University (TCU) will join the Big East Conference in all sports starting in 2012. This is a major development in the realm of college football. TCU is currently ranked number three in the nation. TCU will bring the Big East big time television money because the Dallas/Fort-Worth television market (which is currently the 5th largest in the nation) will now be in play. This will give the Big East nine football-playing members and 17 basketball playing members. Most likely another football-playing school will be added, and there is a possibility of the Big East getting rid of a few basketball-only schools.
-In the latest College Basketball rankings, UConn sits at #7 in the AP poll. UConn has been unranked all year until now, but after winning the Maui Invitational last week, voters thoughts on the Huskies have changed. The only bigger jump by an unranked school since the poll went to 25 teams was by Kansas. It went to No. 4 after winning the 1989 Preseason NIT. The Maui Invitational Championship included three wins for UConn, over Missouri-Valley conference favorite Wichita State, second ranked Michigan State, and finally ninth ranked Kentucky. UConn was led by junior guard Kemba Walker, who is averaging 30 points per game this season, the best in college basketball.
– UConn is ranked number 9 in this week’s ESPN/USA Today Poll.
– UConn returns to the court tomorrow night when they take on New Hampshire at 7:30pm at Gampel Pavilion.
UConn is very thankful for Bill Stewart and his West Virgina Mountaineers. West Virginia beat Pittsburgh this afternoon 35-10 at Heinz Field, which means Pitt, West Virginia, and UConn are all currently tied for first place in the Big East. UConn holds the tie-breakers over both teams due to their head-to-head wins. All the Huskies have to do is take care of business against Cincinnati on Saturday at the Rent, and down in Tampa on December 4th against South Florida, and the Huskies will win the Big East and head to their first ever BCS Bowl (most likely in Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl).
Going into this season not to many people outside of Storrs, Conn. thought the UConn Huskies were going to be a good basketball team. Frankly, not to many people outside Jim Calhoun, his assistants, and the players, may have thought this team had potential. Oh how things can change in three short days.
Heading out to Maui for the EA Sports Maui Invitational, the Huskies had the opportunity to prove themselves on a national stage against a crop of very good teams; and boy did they ever. Behind an absolute mind-blowing performance from junior guard Kemba Walker, the Fightin’ Jim Calhouns proved to everyone that UConn is still an elite basketball program.
“We wanted to show the world we’re still UConn and that Coach Calhoun can still coach a team,” said Walker, the tournament’s MVP after scoring 90 points in three games.
After a tough opening round game against a pretty good Wichita State team, and a heavyweight fight in the semifinals against second ranked Michigan State, UConn finished up their week in paradise with a shellacking of ninth ranked Kentucky and their head coach John Calipari (Personally, and I feel I speak for most UConn fans when I say, there is no one else in college basketball I love beating more than Calipari).
Calhoun couldn’t have been more proud of his young team: “I fell in love with this team,” Calhoun said. “I know the effort is legitimate and as coaches that’s what you want all the time.”Walker made quite a name for himself as well. He played on an entirely different level than the rest of the field all week. Whenever UConn needed a basket, Kemba was there. UConn knew who was going to take the big shots, the fans knew it, and even the other teams knew it…yet they couldn’t stop him. His performance has bolted him into Player of the Year consideration (granted it’s still November), and has seen his draft stock explode upwards. One NBA scout told ESPN.com, “I’m not sure he’s going to be a star [in the NBA], but I just love how he played here and how hard he’s worked on his game. If he keeps this up all season, he’s a top-10 pick.”
While Walker was the star of the tournament, he did receive help from his supporting cast. Alex Oriakhi seems to finally be living up to his potential as he averaged 15 points and 11.67 rebounds in the tournament’s three games. Other players who seemed to really step up during the tournament, include Shabazz Napier, Roscoe Smith, and Niels Giffey, all of whom are freshman. They played like experienced players, and seemed to make the right decisions in key moments. Their hustle and energy really sparked the Huskies.
UConn will now enjoy a nice flight back to campus, and then it’s time to get back to work as the team takes on New Hampshire next Tuesday night (November 30th).
– UConn defeated Vermont on Wednesday night, 89-73, behind a career high 42 points for junior guard Kemba Walker. Walker, who was 15-24 from the field, added 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists. The 42 points tied Cliff Robinson’s record for a UConn game played in Hartford.
– Coming into the season everyone knew Kemba Walker would be THE GUY for the Huskies, and it was uncertain who his “wingmen” might be. Through two exhibition games and the first two real games, Alex Oriakhi, Jeremy Lamb, and Roscoe Smith have all shown they could possibly fill the role of the number two go-to scorer. Oriakhi has been impressive with his improvement from last year. Through two games he is averaging 11 ppg, 12.5 rpg, and 3.5 blocks per game. Lamb, who was very impressive in the second exhibition game when he scored 17 points, has shown he is not afraid to fire up a shot…or 10. He’s a natural scorer, who will provide the Huskies with a great outside presence if he can consistently hit jump shots. Smith finally had a so-called “coming-out performance” on Wednesday night against Vermont. He finished with 15 points (including 3-3 from three-point range), 3 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots. He was the highest ranked recruit for the Huskies, and will look to live up to his unbelievable potential the rest of the season.
– The Huskies will now head to Hawaii, for the annual Maui Invitational which kicks off on Monday. UConn’s first round game is against Wichita State on Monday Nov. 22. at 3pm on ESPN2. UConn could possibly match up with #2 Michigan State in the semifinal and even John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats in the Final.
– UConn heads up to Syracuse this Saturday when they take on the Orange at 7pm on ESPNU. Syracuse (7-3, 4-2 in the Big East) is 0-2 in Big East home games this season, while UConn (5-4, 2-2 in the Big East) is 0-4 away from home this season. One team will break their streak this weekend.
– Jordan Todman is currently 2nd in the nation in rushing with over 140 ypg, but was left off the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation’s top running back, list of 10 semi-finalists, which is ridiculous (It’s the second time in the last three seasons that the voters for this award have left a well-deserving UConn running back off the list, as they did the same to Donald Brown during the 2008 season.) Todman showed his gracious side and strong personality by saying: “It doesn’t bother me. That’s something based on everybody else’s opinion.”
– UConn needs just one more win this season to become bowl eligable for the fourth straight season. The Huskies have three games left to get win number six.
– UConn senior linebacker Lawrence Wilson was named the BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance in last Thursday’s victory over Pittsburgh. Wilson had 11 tackles, including a sack, to lead a Connecticut defense that forced four turnovers and had three sacks in a 30-28 win against first-place Pittsburgh. Wilson is currently leading the BIG EAST in tackles with 95. He was also the leading tackler last season.
Marcus Lynam and Ryan Grace discuss three topics surrounding UConn Basketball.
Coming off a 26-0 drubbing by Louisville on October 23rd, the UConn Huskies looked all but dead for the season. Their record stood at 3-4 (0-2 in the Big East),and with West Virginia and Pittsburgh coming up next on the schedule, hopes for just a bowl appearance were dwindling for the UConn faithful. But once again, like he has multiple times over his 11 seasons in Storrs, head coach Randy Edsall rallied the troops and when no one was giving the team a chance, led his Huskies to two straight wins over two Big East powerhouses.
With the win this past Thursday over Pittsburgh, which saw Jordan Todman rush for a career high 222 yards, UConn put itself into a possible position to reach a BCS bowl for the first time in school history. The Huskies also received some help this weekend when Syracuse beat Rutgers (who had beaten UConn already) and South Florida beat Louisville. These two games, along with the UConn win over Pitt, have basically made the Big East a 5-team race.
Pittsburgh has a one-game lead, and UConn, Syracuse, South Florida and West Virginia are all within striking distance. One thing that MUST happen for any team besides Pittsburgh to win the conference, is the Panthers must lose one more game. Pitt has 3 games remaining, 2 of which are on the road, and the third against rival West Virginia. For UConn to win the conference and go to a BCS bowl, the Huskies need to win its three remaining games (@Syracuse, vs. Cincinnati, @South Florida) and have Pitt lose just once. UConn currently holds the tie-breaker over West Virginia and Pitt, and if they win out, would hold the tie-breaker over Syracuse and South Florida.
So as crazy as this season has been, and as awful as the Huskies have looked (a la @Michigan, @Temple, @Louisville), UConn still has a chance to reach its goal of gaining that automatic bid into a BCS game.
The Huskies continue their quest for the BCS birth, this Saturday (November 20th) when they travel to the Carrier Dome in Syracuse to take on the Orange. Syracuse has trouble winning at home (0-2 in Big East games), and UConn has trouble winning on the road (0-4 on the year) so it will be interesting to see what team can play the best football down the stretch.