Blog Entry

Now UConn is the nation's best story, of course

Posted on: November 25, 2010 1:22 am
Edited on: November 25, 2010 1:40 am
How often do you actually write?

That's a question I'm often asked when I speak to classes, meet readers at games, sit in bars later than I should. I get a variation of it every few days, and I always answer by telling the curious soul that in the offseason I try to write three or four columns a week, and that during the season there's rarely a day -- Christmas, perhaps -- when I'm not typing words about college basketball. That exchange almost always leads to a follow-up question.

How do you find something to write about EVERY day?

It's at this point that I go into a speech about how there are hundreds of teams playing and that stories just constantly and consistently develop. You can't always predict when and where, I tell them, but you can safely assume stories will emerge because stories always emerge.

Which brings me to Kemba Walker and the Connecticut Huskies.

They are a perfect example.

UConn won the Maui Invitational late Wednesday.

The eight-team event featured the schools ranked No. 2 (Michigan State), No. 8 (Kentucky) and No. 13 (Washington) in the latest Associated Press poll, and yet the unranked Huskies -- the same unranked Huskies who were projected 10th in the Big East, according to a preseason vote of league coaches -- are the ones returning to the mainland still undefeated thanks to wins over Wichita State, Michigan State and Kentucky.

The second of those wins (over Michigan State) was the biggest surprise.

The third (over Kentucky) was the most impressive.

UConn dominated UK and won 84-67 thanks to a 29-point effort from Walker, who has been nothing short of spectacular through five games. He scored 60 points in UConn's first two contests this season, 90 in Maui. I don't need a calculator to realize that's an average of 30 points per game, and I don't know where this came from, exactly, but I'm certainly thrilled it's here.

How do you find something to write about EVERY day?

Like I said, stories just constantly and consistently develop. Oftentimes, they're precisely where most anticipated. But every once in a while they come out of nowhere, and this week has been one of those weeks thanks to Kemba Walker and his soon-to-be-ranked Huskies.
Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 28, 2009
Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:31 pm

Now UConn is the nation's best story, of course

Some people think that Connecticut has risen through the rankings too quickly and that they are not good enough to be a top 10 team. To that, I have two things to say:
Firstly, the rankings at this point in the reason mean almost nothing. The Huskies are in the 2nd quarter of their 8th game this season as I write this, so to rank these teams through 8 games is essentially purposeless. Since rankings are available this quickly, we basically have to ignore them, considering that opinions will differ so greatly with such a small sample of size of basketball that we've seen. Although I think the blowout of UK and the wins over very good teams like Michigan State and Washington certainly say something, it's unfair to rank the teams when 15 of the top 25 teams in the AP Poll are undefeated and only four teams have 2 losses (none have more).
Secondly, in UConn's defense, they look awfully good. Their point guard, Kemba Walker, is averaging 29 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2 steals, and only 2 turnovers per game. He right now looks like the best player in the country, especially considering the way guys like Harrison Barnes have looked on some occasions. In addition, Alex Oriakhi is averaging 12 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. That is the kind of production that earns a top 10 and possibly a top 5 ranking.
It is definitely too early to judge college basketball teams. But with the sample size that we have, UConn certainly looks like a top 10 team.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: November 27, 2010 2:10 pm

Now UConn is the nation's best story, of course

On a serious note, where should UConn be ranked next week? Top 10, top 5? Heck I think you can justify ranking them 2nd based on what was done on the court.

That is comically stupid. UConn is not a Top 5 team. They had a nice hot week, period. They have so many issues with their team that will be exposed once teams watch film and scout them a little bit. I will still be surprised to see them finish in the top half of the Big East. Ultimately, freshmen are freshmen and a one trick pony gets taken for a ride.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: November 26, 2010 10:32 pm

Now UConn is the nation's best story, of course

UConn obviously had an excellent week in Maui, but I still don't see them as a Top 25 team at the end of the year. Once the wear and tear of the season hits, UConn doesn't have the overall depth and roster quality to survive the season. They will start dropping games soon enough.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: November 26, 2010 9:34 pm

Actually, the best story is...

The Hoosiers are undefeated!

Since: Nov 25, 2007
Posted on: November 26, 2010 2:21 pm

...wait a second, Gary...

Well, when you have a column, you can write about nearly anything you like.  Maybe you can talk about the turkey dinner that you had yesterday; or the stuffing?  "The eight team even featured the schools (that WERE) ranked..."-(Gary)   ----At this point the ranks just really don't mean much, Gary (you've said that, yourself); because, truthfully, we cannot know a whole-lot, yet.  In a few weeks, these rankings will look very different --which means that some of these (previously) highly-ranked teams will not have great seasons that were anticipated.  Just like the UConn team, last season, right?  Who will be this season's egg-layers...tune-in in a few weeks to find-out!  Michigan State could be one of those teams...?  I know that Wisconsin will not be one, because they are just too well-coached, and steady.  Not a whole lot of drop-off from year-to-year, despite the changes in players.  A very good coach can do that; but coaches who are no-more than good recruiters, cannot. 

Since: Nov 15, 2008
Posted on: November 26, 2010 2:20 pm

Now UConn is the nation's best story, of course

I'm not saying Uconn should of been ranked number 1 or 2 preseason in the Big East confrence but how can you place them preseason 10 when after year after year they build up a solid team and compete with everyone. Also Wichita State looks very good especially considering they came the closest to beating Uconn. It was their first game of the season to. I am a Uconn fan but I live in Wichita so that was a really fun game to watch. Go Uconn, good luck Wichita State and Kansas you can win to as long as your not playing Uconn hehe.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: November 26, 2010 12:04 am

Nation's Best?

This is Gary's way of saying, in his hyperbolic way, that it's the best story in his mind. I'm part of the nation and I don't consider Uconn the best story. Right now I'm more impressed with Minnesota and even Chaminade.

Since: Jun 1, 2009
Posted on: November 25, 2010 6:37 pm

Now UConn is the nation's best story, of course

GP is a stud muffin!  
I'm not a Uconn or Calhoun fan, but they were impressive especially Walker.  I personally think its a little to early to anoint them kings of the land, but it was a good start.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: November 25, 2010 4:00 pm

Tip my cap

I didn't expect it, but UCONN put an old fashion ass-whippin' on my young Cats.......and it wasn't even close. I tip my cap to Calhoun's squad. They came ready to play the entire tourney. A Top 20 team in my opinion.....

Since: Mar 7, 2009
Posted on: November 25, 2010 12:52 pm

Now UConn is the nation's best story, of course

People have to realize that last calendar year, the 5 starters on this UConn team were Price, Thabeet, Adrien, Austrie, and Robinson (Robinson filling in for an injured Dyson, Edwards the main bench guy). This team made the final four. A year and a half later, Walker is the only player with significant playing team from that final four run. If Dyson didn't get injured, Walker would have been the 8th most important player on that team. Now, after a highly disappointing 2009-2010 season, Walker and Oriakhi are the only starters remaining surrounded by 5 freshmen (with a 6th coming) and 3 others with previously limited playing time. You can't rank a team like that in the preseason with any seriousness. Dyson, Robinson, Edwards, and Majok are gone, and this UConn team is holding the burden of that horrific season on their back. They're doing a pretty good job.      

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