Blog Entry

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

Posted on: February 18, 2012 2:19 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 2:55 pm
Connecticut missed out on a chance to get a marquee win today against Marquette. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Goodman

OK, I'm finally ready to give up on the UConn Huskies. It took me longer than most after watching the program rise from the dead a year ago and reel off 11 consecutive games to win the Big East tourney and national title. 

The Huskies' proverbial backs were against the wall on Saturday afternoon. Their 69-year-old coach, Jim Calhoun, remained on a medical leave of absence with a serious back injury.  

If there was ever a time to come out with a sense of urgency, this was it. Yet UConn came out flat, looked disinterested in the first half -- and it cost the Huskies yet again. 

This is a team that was picked in everyone's Preseason Top 10 -- even without Kemba Walker. The Huskies won it all and returned Jeremy Lamb, Alex Oriakhi, Shabazz Napier, Roscoe Smith and Tyler Olander from last year's improbable national championship team. 

Then Calboun added one of the nation's top recruiting classes in Andre Drummond, DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatright. 

All the talk revolves around the lack of leadership -- and much of it is valid. Lamb and Drummond are too quiet, Oriakhi didn't play enough to be a viable candidate  and Napier just isn't ready to assume that role. But there are plenty of far less talented teams without great leaders who enjoy more success than this year's UConn team, one that has now fallen to 16-10 overall and 6-8 in Big East play. 

This team doesn't play smart. This team doesn't play together. They don't play with heart or intensity. 

They were outrebounded by a Marquette team that was without its top two post plays on Saturday on their own court. 

Now, with just four games remaining in the regular-season, the Huskies will have to reel off three of four to finish at .500 in conference play. The slate starts at Villanova, home against Syracuse, at Providence and concludes with a home contest against Pittsburgh. 

They all appear, on paper, to be winnable games. They also appear, on paper, to be losable ones for this group. 

I'd be more shocked if they went 4-0 than 0-4. 

No one knows when -- or even if -- Calhoun will return. I'm not sure it matters with this group. Lamb and Drummond -- two likely lottery picks -- look as though they are out for a walk in the park at times rather than playing Big East basketball. Boatright may be talented, but he appears more interested in getting his own numbers than winning ballgames. Oriakhi's confidence is like a see-saw after Calhoun tossed him in the doghouse early this year. Smith and Daniels have no understanding of their roles and we're nearing the end of the season. 

There's no shame in losing to a Marquette team that is in second place and within striking distance of Syracuse in the Big East standings -- even in Hartford. 

But what was shameful was the effort this UConn team displayed for much of the contest, the lack of fight and intensity. 

The Huskies miss Kemba and Calhoun, but more than anyone thing they miss a sense of toughness, intensity and pride. 

Since: Feb 22, 2012
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:17 pm
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Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: February 22, 2012 2:28 pm

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

Maybe not time to throw in the towel, but it is time to throw some players into a classroom (if they even exist at UConn-25% graduation rate).

Since: Mar 15, 2009
Posted on: February 20, 2012 12:28 am

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

Many fans call a championship a fluke, and it's teams like this that prove them right. Do you even understand how hard it is to win an NCAA Championship? Making the Final Four in consecutive years is a very big accomplishment let alone winning the whole damn thing again. Also don't count the Huskies out yet there is still a very long way to go before someone raises that championship trophy this year.

Since: Dec 5, 2009
Posted on: February 19, 2012 12:46 pm

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

This happens all the time. The defending national champions get their prize and fizzle out the next season. North Carolina won it all in the 2009 championship, and in 2010 they were only a finalist in the NIT tournament. It happens, I know that for the most part UCONN is relatively intact but yet they've lost their hunger while every single team on their schedule has painted a target on their backs. Many fans call a championship a fluke, and it's teams like this that prove them right. Only time a team isn't a fluke is when they win consecutive championships. The last team to do that was the Florida Gators.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: February 18, 2012 7:02 pm

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

Reese - UConn is headed for the NIT.  And they are definitely not the Giants.  Not even close.

Since: Jul 4, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 6:55 pm

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

Yeh but they get it the tournament and get hot who knows. Look at the NEW YORK GIANTS same deal

Since: Mar 15, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 6:04 pm

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

Yes i don't understand what these fools are spewing about. If you want to say they quit in the first half i compeltly agree. But in the seconf half of this game Uconn played with passion and intensity. They cut the lead to 4 and would have been 1 had that three not been calle back on that bogus charge call.the Technical was iffy and there really wasnt anything ther ebut that killed uconns momentum as he made both ft then they proceeded to make a 3.  Then the looseball timeout that was awarded to Marq even though they did not have poession was another dagger. The reffing was terrible in this game against uconn and the worst one was what ended the game. The no call when the marq player clearly touched the ball last then made the 3 and got drummonds 4th foul was what sealed this game. Trolls like sergio who have no idea how the game of basketball is played will say that this was a blowout but in reality it really wasn't. it was just a team who played with alot of heart that didn't get any calls where as the other team got all of them.

Since: Oct 13, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 4:32 pm

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

Unfortunately, I think there is such a thing as too much talent.  With six players returning who played major roles on last years title team, and a trio of highly touted recruits, there is no teamwork on the court.  Most of the team seems to have a me first attitude.  It is incredibly frustrating how often this team allows the shot clock to dwindle down to single digits only to throw off a terrible jump shot.  In my opinion, watching this team has been like watching an NBA team.  No offense is being run other than trying to break down the defense with one on one dribble penetration.  It just doesn't work.  So many of these guys seem so concerned with getting their numbers rather than winning.  Read a quote from Napier today after the game where he says the team is quitting and no one has any heart.  As the starting PG, he needs to take a look in the mirror and ask himself if he has any heart.  He and Oriakhi are the two players who drop their heads first when a call doesn't go their way, when they should be the two as the point guard and oldest player on the team who should have the composure to keep things together.  A little heart goes a long way, and this team just doesn't seem to care.

Since: Jul 30, 2009
Posted on: February 18, 2012 3:53 pm

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

Jeff, I agree with the fact that the Huskies lack leadership and that has really hurt them this season, and I for the most part agree with your assessment of the season so far, however I don’t think we watched the same game today. I was in Hartford for the game and UConn did not play flat and deflated until the final minute of the game when the outcome was already decided. UConn cut the lead from 14 to 4 quickly after halftime that forced a timeout by Marquette, only to have the momentum taken away by a technical on Ryan Boatright that led to 2 free throws, and a 3 to stretch the lead out to 9 again, a 5 point swing. Later in the half, UConn again started to cut the lead and a 3 by Boatright got negated by an offensive foul call on Andre Drummond, and Marquette went down and got a bucket, another 5 point swing. Again, with the crowd going crazy, Uconn was cutting the lead and the ball was clearly knocked out of bounds by Jae Crowder (the replay was shown multiple times) after a missed shot, however the officials thought Oriakhi knocked it out and gave the ball to Marquette, and they hit a 3 to stretch the lead. There were also multiple times where players on Marquette pushed off on Shabazz Napier when he was guarding them and the fouls were not called. I never like to blame a loss for any team on the officiating, but today the calls were absolutely terrible. I could live with it if they were calling the game tight on both ends of the floor but in this one was completely one sided. This loss was not due to a lack of effort or intensity because all those kids played hard out there in a tough situation. There is still time left in the season to turn things around and although another Final Four is very unlikely, this team can still make it to the Sweet Sixteen this year. Remember last year at this time people were saying similar things about the Huskies after a heartbreaking loss in the season finale to Notre Dame, and we all know what happened after that.

Since: Dec 4, 2010
Posted on: February 18, 2012 3:44 pm

Ready to throw in the towel with UConn Huskies

".....I'm finally ready to give up (on UConn)..."  Hmmm.  As an 'expert' on college hoops, I think you should have seen that coming two weeks ago.  There seems to be way too many other so-called experts who are bloviating 'hope and change' when it comes to analyzing UConn's future.  We all know why that is---them being the reigning champs and having a HOF Coach---but denial/passes will not get you/them anywhere.  Ironic isn't it that seem to have gotten worse w/ Boatright in the line-up.  One thing you got right is that Coach Calhooligan can't save this bunch.

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