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Simply amazing

December 5, 2010

I don’t even know what to say. Words can’t describe how I feel right now.

Teggart raises his arms after drilling home the 52-yard game-winning field goal. (AP)

I’ve been really lucky over the years. Growing up in Boston, I’ve gotten to witness my team’s experience all kinds of success. Three Super Bowls, two World Series’ and an NBA championship in addition to two women’s basketball national championships and a men’s final four while at college.

But this is different. It feels different. When Teggart hit that last field goal, that devine 52-yard field goal, and the defense held strong in the last eleven seconds, I felt like a tremendous burden was lifted. We won! We actually pulled it off!

This team was dead in the water a month ago. They were 0-2 in the Big East, and they still had the class of the league in front of them. The idea that this would be possible then was laughable, and given UConn football’s history of getting the job done in the Big East when it counts (see 07 WVU, 08 USF and 09 Rutgers) isn’t the best.

That’s why this is so special. Is UConn deserving of a BCS bid compared to Michigan State, LSU or any of those other teams? Hell no. But are they deserving? More so than anybody. Because unlike those other teams, UConn had to work out real adversity and discover who they really are before they could reach their potential, and just in the knick of time, they did. Then they won five games in a row, and repeatedly demonstrated their poise and their will to win.

In the end, they got it done.

And they nearly gave me a heart attack in the process.

Today was one of the longest days of my life, and the last ten minutes of the game may have taken 20 years off my life. But it doesn’t matter. UConn won. They are the champions, and now it’s over. All the haters in the world can’t take this away from the Huskies now, and even if UConn gets beat in the game itself, it won’t take away from what this team accomplished just to get to this point.

And the best part of it all, I get to go to Miami/Phoenix in the dead of winter now. Damn I love my job!

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No margin for error

December 4, 2010

Pitt and West Virginia’s games have just gone final, and the result? UConn has no margin for error now.

WVU wins 35-14, eliminating Pitt from BCS contention.

They must win if they want to go to the BCS.

Obviously this doesn’t change anything regarding UConn’s strategy, realistically they needed a win anyway and the idea of West Virginia and Pitt both losing today would have been a real pipe dream.

But still, there are going to be a lot more stressed out Huskies tonight. I’m going to be one of them.

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The Hangover

December 1, 2010

The men’s basketball team that I watched dominate the Maui Invitational apparently never made it back to Storrs. I don’t know who I watched stink up the joint against UNH last night, but it wasn’t the No. 7 ranked Huskies I’ve come to know.

UConn won, but they played terrible. Absolutely terrible. Kemba scored 30 points again, but the rest of the team combined for 32. UNH outrebounded the Huskies, and in general they badly outplayed and outworked UConn. The fact that UConn was able to play that bad and still win is encouraging… I guess. But if they come out that flat again against  a Big East opponent, they will get blown out through the rafters.

I don’t want to get into it any more, because the stats really can’t tell the whole picture. So instead, I’ll summarize with a picture that can.

What IS that!?!?

That’s how ugly last night’s game was. Nothing more needs to be said.

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What a week

November 29, 2010

Ok, so first of all, I think I owe you all an apology for my little Thanksgiving vacation. That wasn’t intentional but I’m back now and ready to blog. This was a big week for UConn, so without further adieu, the week that was!

UConn beats No. 2 Michigan State

I wasn’t sure about UConn after the Wichita State game, but this game really made me a believer. Kemba Walker was amazing again, but this time he wasn’t the be all and end all. The Huskies competed hard and fought the Spartans blow for blow all game, and when the game was close down the stretch, the Huskies showed poise and got the job done, winning 70-67. Taking out the No. 2 team in the country and making a statement to the rest of the country that UConn is back and ready to compete right now.

Then UConn beats No. 8 Kentucky in the Maui Invitational final

Those who weren’t ready to acknowledge that UConn might actually be good didn’t have a choice but to give the Huskies their due after this doozy of a performance. Kentucky has the talent and the highly rated recruits, but what they didn’t have was an answer to the Huskies ferocious drive to win that helped them seize control of the game. UConn went on a 21-2 run to end the first half, and as they kept piling on the Wildcats, you could clearly see what this team was all about. Kemba couldn’t contain himself, neither could Oriakhi. They screamed into the crowd, jumped around and made sure everyone in the gym knew that they were going to win the game and there wasn’t a damn thing Kentucky could have done about it. The final score was 84-67, but it may as well have been 184-67. UConn came home with the Maui Invitational championship and a whole new air of confidence.

Football beats Cincinnati and Pitt loses to West Virginia, giving UConn control of their BCS destiny

In winning their fourth game in a row, the Huskies moved to 4-2 in the Big East. West Virginia did their part by beating Pitt, dropping them to 4-2 as well. So now, we have a three way tie atop the Big East, with UConn holding all the tiebreakers going into their last game of the year. If UConn beats USF, they win the Big East and go to the BCS. If they lose… UConn can still go if West Virginia and Pitt both lose. I wouldn’t count on that happening, so the best bet would be for UConn to prove that they deserve the bid and take care of business this Saturday.

Men’s Basketball jumps to No. 7 in AP poll

I knew UConn was going to roar into the national polls, but I didn’t think they’d make it this high. Given their performance in Maui though, they deserve nothing less. In fact, Michigan St only fell to No. 6, so in a way, it almost seems a little unfair that UConn is still ranked behind them even though they just beat them. I guess now I’m just getting greedy…

TCU to join the Big East

Today’s announcement that TCU is going to join the Big East adds even more pressure to the football team to win this Saturday and get their BCS bid. Because when TCU joins the lead, UConn’s going to have a hell of an obstacle to overcome if they ever plan on getting back…

Randy Edsall interviews at Minnesota, people speculate that Miami might target him too

According to this tweet, Randy Edsall interviewed with Minnesota today. On ESPN, there were also some analysts talking about Edsall being a potential candidate for the now vacant Miami (FL) head coaching job.

You know what I say to all of that? Get your hands off our coach! He’s ours!

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Walker whacks Wichita St

November 23, 2010

Going into the Maui Invitational, the men’s basketball team had a lot of question marks that needed answering. Today, we got some answers, some good, some bad.

The Good

Kemba Walker, my God what can you say about him? I thought his 42 point performance against Vermont was impressive, but what he did against Wichita St today was… amazing. After sitting most of the first half due to foul trouble, he came in and dominated the second half, completely taking over the game and willing the Huskies to victory over a very good Wichita St team. His 29 second half points were a UConn record for one half, and the Huskies needed every one of them. If we learned anything from today’s game, it’s that this team will have a chance to beat anybody on any day as long as Kemba Walker is on the floor. He is one of the best players in the country and he clearly demonstrated that today.

Also encouraging beyond Kemba, however, is that UConn hung in tough while Walker was sitting due to foul trouble. They managed to keep the game close throughout thanks to some tough defense, and they even managed to take the lead going into halftime thanks to Roscoe Smith’s buzzer-beater three pointer. The team could have easily let the game get away and allowed the Shockers to take a double digit lead early, but they didn’t, and that’s a good sign.

Can Jeremy Lamb step up and become "the other guy?" - AP

The Bad

What’s not a good sign, however, is that it took Kemba Walker’s insane second half to win the game. If there is one lesson we can take away from the Wichita St game, it’s this. UConn can stay in the game without Walker, but they can’t win without him. Someone else on this team is going to have to step up and become a difference maker, because Walker isn’t going to be Superman every night. Right now, everyone else is solid, and we don’t have any obvious weak links, but that’s not going to be good enough in the Big East and in the NCAA Tournament. As the season goes on, hopefully someone else will make the jump so that Kemba doesn’t have to always be the guy.

What’s next?

With the win, UConn will now advance to the second round, where they will play the winner of the Michigan St vs. Chaminade matchup. That game should offer us another good look at what this team can do against either one of the best teams in the country (Michigan St) or a plucky Division II team coming off the second biggest upset in program history (Chaminade).

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Where we stand

November 21, 2010

The Huskies put forth an impressive performance in last night’s 23-6 win over Syracuse. Of all their six wins this season, last night’s was probably the most encouraging too. They won a game on the road for the first time all year, the defense came to play and shut down the Orange offense, and the running game was solid from start to finish, which is always key in any win.

Jordan Todman - AP

Now riding a three-game winning streak, the Huskies are now within realistic striking distance of the Fiesta Bowl, which is incredible when you consider that this team lost their first two Big East games to Rutgers and Louisville. All the Huskies need to do now is win their last two games against Cincinnati and USF, and hope that Pitt loses one more time. With remaining games against West Virginia and Cincinnati, a Pitt loss isn’t exactly a longshot either.

So what’s going to happen? These next two games are going to be a couple of the biggest games in program history, and if West Virginia beats Pitt next week, that game against USF will be massive.

So will the Huskies step up? If the last three games are any indication, I like our chances.

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A hopeful sign?

November 21, 2010

The UConn vs. Syracuse game is set to kickoff any minute now. So before it gets started, I just wanted to share something that hopefully will be a metaphor for the game itself. Thank you to The UConn Blog for posting this in the first place, and thank you to ESPN for making this beauty.

Personally, I hope UConn comes out like that rodeo bull. He’s a lot more likely to squash that Orange than Dwight Freeney is, Freeney being a Syracuse graduate and all.

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