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Blog Entry

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

Posted on: March 7, 2012 3:51 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2012 3:56 pm
 
UConn's come-from-behind overtime win against West Virginia set up a quarterfinal showdown with Syracuse. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Goodman

NEW YORK - Two down, three to go. 

It's already begun, with people tossing around the name "Kemba" after the UConn Huskies have reeled off two wins in the Big East tournament. It's in reference to last year's ridiculous run to the tourney crown, but this isn't the same team. Jim Calhoun knows it and so do veterans like Alex Oriakhi, who was around for last year's memorable five victories in five days. 

That team was fun to watch. 

This team is a complete enigma. 

"We're just taking it one game at a time," Oriakhi said after the 71-67 victory. "It's been a tough year." 

The Huskies were down nine points with less than four minutes remaining against West Virginia on Wednesday afternoon before Shabazz Napier did his best Kemba Walker impression -- going off in the second half to rescue UConn. He went for 22 of his 26 points after the break. 

"It was looking ugly," Oriakhi added. 

Now Calhoun, who has led his team to three straight victories since returning from back surgery, should be able to breathe easy when the NCAA Selection Committee unveils the bracket on Sunday. It would be difficult to imagine a scenario that doesn't have UConn in the field. 

"I'm so proud of this team," Calhoun said. 

For what? 

This group has earned the 2011-12 title of "Ultimate Underachievers." The Huskies have a pair of likely lottery picks in Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb, in addition to a few more guys that could well be playing in the NBA one day. Sure, their Hall of Fame coach missed 11 games this season and freshman guard Ryan Boatright sat out two separate occasions due to an NCAA investigation.  

"No excuses," Calhoun said. 

UConn will face Syracuse in the quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon -- and a win against the Orange will bring more questions about a repeat of last season. 

"There's no magic," Calhoun said. "It's just us." 

Napier showed why he's the most important player on the UConn roster on Wednesday. He brings the consistent toughness to the table that's clearly lacking with Drummond and Lamb. 

"We already felt like we're in the tournament," he said after the win. "We're trying to prove to ourselves. It's all about us." 

The interesting aspect now for next week becomes whether the Huskies can pull of the upset of the Orange and move up to an 8-9 seed in the NCAA tournament. 

Just imagine a matchup in the round of 32 between UConn and, say, a Kentucky or North Carolina. 

But once again, we're starting to get ahead of ourselves -- just as some were doing at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. 

"It way too early," Oriakhi said. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves." 

Category: NCAAB
Comments

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2012 11:29 am
 

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

I don't see any magic in the UConn team, it took MASSIVE help from the crooked BE officials to secure a win against my less than stellar Mounties.  Syracuse will mop the floor with them.  Calhoun has always bullied the BE officials into calling games his way, and the BE has an attitude toward WVU.  IF UConn wins the BE and makes some noise in the NCAAs, you can claim magic.



Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2012 11:28 am
 

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

I don't see any magic in the UConn team, it took MASSIVE help from the crooked BE officials to secure a win against my less than stellar Mounties.  Syracuse will mop the floor with them.  Calhoun has always bullied the BE officials into calling games his way, and the BE has an attitude toward WVU.  IF UConn wins the BE and makes some noise in the NCAAs, you can claim magic.



Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: March 8, 2012 11:26 am
 

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

Unless UConn had lost 21 games or so, just being the NCAA defending champ gets them a 12-13 seed even if they don't do well in the conference.

Beyond that, they should not be overly rewarded because of it.

You don't need to be a great team in the NCAA. You need to beat whoever is next and hope somebody else is doing the same thing.
Then if you match up well, you advance.





Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2012 10:43 am
 

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

WoW UConn beats F'ing Depaul and NIT bound West Virginia and they're reclaimed last year's magic? You're an idiot Goodman, if the Big East tournament wasn't set up so ridiculously then UConn wouldn't even have had the chance to pad their resume' with 2 bulls**t wins against weak opponents the last 2 days. They don't belond in NCAA tournament regardless of how talented they are, they squandered way too many opportunties throughout the year.



Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: March 8, 2012 8:59 am
 

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

I hope your not serious...do you know anything about this team or have you even watched a game? As one of the other comments noted, one of the youngest teams in college basketball, without their leader, a key player, etc. They had no identity and no go to. To say they coasted without a care through the regular season is idiotic as well as moronic. Look at the big picture, you fool.



Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: March 8, 2012 7:47 am
 

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

I'm not really a UConn fan, but, as an SU fan, I'm salivating at the prospect of them playing a Kentucky or a UNC in the second round.  Go Huskies! (Next weekend).



Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:50 am
 

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

It's a major blight on the sport when these big money teams coast through regular season without a care in the world then win a couple tourney games against also-rans and are suddenly locks. There's got to be a better way to select the most deserving teams. NCAA hoops has sold its soul.  


oz1964
Since: Jan 3, 2012
Posted on: March 8, 2012 12:48 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: March 7, 2012 10:47 pm
 

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

Can't believe I read this article. One of the worst articles ever, Goodman ... I hope you realize this is one of the youngest teams in Div. I. That's the problem with media - its all about near perfect records and the dunk. Got to do one or the other or you suck! UConn, maybe the 6th youngest team in Div. I, was without their leader, Coach Calhoun, and/or their only other ball handler in Boatright. That's a lot to be without. He's proud cause they lost close games, lost leads all year, and now they're 3 - 0 since his return and stormed back down 9 with 4 min to go. But this hack is reporting on idiot's knowledge and cheap shots.



Since: Jun 1, 2009
Posted on: March 7, 2012 9:21 pm
 

It's not last year, but UConn has tourney magic

UCONN will be a better seed than a 8-9 matchup.  The committee won't put them in that game regardless of their outcome tomorrow vs Syracuse.  They'll be a 7 seed at the worst.


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