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Entries in Connecticut (6)


College Football Notebook: Week 3 Review

Picture of Andy Dalton

One Great Season

People need to start paying attention to TCU quarterback Andy Dalton.

The senior completed 91 percent of his passes — ninety-one — in the Horned Frogs' 45-10 thrashing of Baylor Saturday. He finished 21-of-23 for 267 yards and two touchdowns. Four of his completions covered at least 25 yards.

For the season, Dalton is 53-of-71 (75 percent) for 624 yards, four TDs and two INTs. Are they-earth shattering numbers worthy enough to make Dalton a shoe-in Heisman invitee in December? No, but the fourth-year starter is consistent and all he does is win football games. And right now his QB rating is 161.43.

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Jim Calhoun, UConn Accused Of NCAA Violations

Jim Calhoun

Bar Association Honors Coach
As Two Assistants Resign

One Great Season

I'd never wish ill on anyone, but at the same time, seeing Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun get busted for at least eight alleged NCAA violations doesn't bother me one bit.

There's no doubt he's an excellent coach who's done great things for his community, but I couldn't help but feel the need for a shower after watching him condescendingly dress down Ken Krayeske last year. Krayeske is the freelance writer whose ill-timed inquiry into Calhoun's $1.6 million salary during a $1 billion state budget shortfall led to an embarrassing 72 seconds that will forever live on YouTube.

Living in Big East country, I watch UConn on television regularly and have seen many of the Huskies' games since that February 2009 episode. One thing I always keep an eye on is the postgame handshake, and that surly 68-year-old might be the poorest loser I've ever seen.

Krayeske surely was out of his league and perhaps a more formal interview could have been scheduled privately. But I think I read somewhere that the writer did try to arrange a meeting and was denied, leaving a post-win press conference as the only available venue for Krayeske's investigation.

But now, Calhoun is beginning his Memorial Day weekend by sounding like he's auditioning for a PR job, saying he and his school "look forward to working with the NCAA" after being accused of failing to "promote an atmosphere of compliance." He's also got to start looking for two new assistants to replace the ones who stepped down this week as the NCAA's notice was approaching. Coincidence?

Calhoun stuttered carefully at a news conference Friday morning, conceding nothing while saying twice, "...if, in fact, we did make mistakes..." UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway said the school "takes the matter very seriously," but making this whole thing kind of funny is that just last night, Calhoun was honored by, of all organizations, The Connecticut Bar Association.


Twitter Recap: Who Said What About Bob Huggins' Ejection?

Bob Huggins

One Great Season

A funny thing happened on the way to Connecticut's latest upset of a top-tier Big East team Monday night.

Bob Huggins, coach of the visiting No. 7 West Virginia Mountaineers, got two technical fouls and was automatically ejected.

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ESPN had a nice tight shot on Huggins as he was giving official Mike Stuart the business. It didn't look like Huggins was asking if Stuart enjoyed his weekend.

Many Twitter users, including this one, were able to deciper the code Huggins has never been afraid to use on officials for more than two decades. It appeared to include many F-bombs, and ESPN college basketball reporter Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz), seated courtside, Tweeted that "Bob Huggins just used mother and you know what right in Mike Stuart's face. Stuart listened and finally tossed him."

Here's some more of what folks were Tweeting about Huggins in the closing minute of UConn's 73-62 win, another resume builder for the surging Huskies:

@MattZemek_CFN: "I'm reading Bob Huggins's lips, and it's not a pretty sight... errrr, sound..... errrr, sight. You know what I mean."

@OSULighty23: "Huggins a goon lol........... he always let the refs know whats on his mind."

@onegreaseason: "When I used to cover Cincy, a steamed Huggins once told a reporter: 'If I was playing my grandma in checkers, I'd want to bury her ass.'"

@goodmanonfox: "Bob Huggins might have set the record for most F-bombs dropped on a ref and he tossed with two technicals."

@Miss_JenniferC: "I kept waiting for Huggins to flip off the stupid UConn student section as he left lol."

@kevinreitmeyer: "Stay classy Huggins! And you wonder where the students get it from?!"

@ScottBonz: "For those on the highway tonight, namely @asavla. Be safe. An angry and possibly drunk Bob huggins is on the road. Good win."

@WildcatBlueBlog: "Cousins and Bledsoe combined cannot hold a candle to Huggins and his temper. What a mess."

@PJASchultz: "It was kind of a bullshit ejection. Ref was definitely looking for it. ..and I hate Huggins!"

@jhorrigan24: "Did Bob Huggins get ejected for 2 technical fouls or for not wearing a shirt and tie? Class act."

@john_kersten: "Eff uconn. Huggins got tossed so he didn't have to shake (hands with) that ass of a coach Calhoun."

@BlakeMellinger: "Bob Huggins just got tossed at UCONN. The official had no business being at WVU huddle, he instigated the entire confrontation."

@z_timmons: "What's the Vegas over/under on # of miles Huggins makes it before being pulled over for DUI tonight?

@Gabejones23: "Huggins has just been ejected for the same thing Calhoun has done his entire career."


Thursday Hoops Notebook: Duke, Syracuse Survive Scares

Syracuse Beats Connecticut

One Great Season

On the surface, two Top 10 teams won a pair of high-profile games against conference rivals on national television Wednesday night.

On talk radio and in the blogosphere, however, Syracuse and Duke are looking like a couple of teams who won't get past the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

My dad used to tell me you're only as good as your last game, and I've always agreed with that to an extent. But a team's body of work throughout a season also merits equal consideration.

And that's why two narrow victories over inferior teams five weeks before the tournament even starts shouldn't worry fans of Syracuse or Duke. Teams play more than 30 games every season. What doesn't kill you in one will make you stronger in the next, right? And these are wins we're talking about!

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Bloggers are always looking for an angle they think hasn't been considered -- or at least published -- often times abandoning clear logic for the sake of uniqueness. Being original gets you noticed, but sometimes for the wrong reason.

What gets lost in all the analysis and doom and gloom are these facts: both squads are on top of their leagues, they're riding nice conference winning streaks and have top NCAA tournament seeds well within their grasp. A team couldn't possibly ask for more than that heading down the stretch.

SYRACUSE SIDESTEPS UCONN: The Orange held off a game Connecticut team Wednesday at the Carrier Dome, beating its Big East rival to remain on top of the conference.

Syracuse got balanced scoring en route to the 72-67 win that stretched its best start in school history to 24-1. The Orange are 12-1 in the Big East, a half game ahead of Villanova.

While Syracuse certainly didn't play its best game of the season, at this point, when players are trying to avoid the wall that often approaches in February, even a home win over a struggling UConnn team is a feather in the Orange fedora.

I still think 'Cuse -- with offensive balance; a late-game, go-to guy; a perimeter marksmen; blue-collar interior guys; a cool-under-pressure freshman playing beyond his years and of course that outstanding zone defense -- is a Final Four team.

Duke Beats North Carolina

DEVILS STEP ON HEELS: Neither North Carolina nor Duke did much outstanding, but Dick Vitale described it accurately maybe 10 or 12 minutes in when he said on the ESPN broadcast, "nobody's shooting all that well, but the effort is certainly there."

That was true in the second half of Duke's 64-54 win as well. North Carolina hit some big shots, like Connecticut, to keep it close late in a game with a superior rival, but in the end, it was the more experienced, more poised team that finished.

Just because Duke struggled to beat one team that clearly has many, many shortcomings, that hardly means it's time to hit the panic button. If they're hitting their shots, the Devils are once again a dangerous team for anyone who can't play an up-tempo style.

But since Duke wasn't hitting shots, it was stuck on the 49-point mark with six minutes left in the game. That was probably the biggest surprise to me. I thought the Devils would approach 100, but the low-scoring win was good enough to keep Duke (20-4, 8-2) atop the ACC, a full game ahead of Maryland, which visits Duke on Saturday. That's when we'll get a better idea whether the Devils are a threat to make a deep run in March.

THROW OUT THE CLICHES: It's 2 a.m. ET Thursday and the SportsCenter repeat just began on ESPN.

"You know what they say ... Throw out the record books when Duke and North Carolina get together," is how the anchorman opened the show.
Does anyone really say that? It seems these days that the only people who say that are broadcasters who claim that everyone else says it. But no one I know ever says that in seriousness. They only say that others say it.

BIG TEN, BIG FUN: Since the league's expansion a few years ago, the Big East race seems to be by default the best in the sport.

But I'm really intrigued by what's happening in the Big Ten. Michigan State has lost its three-game grip on first place in the last nine days. The Spartans went from 9-0 in the league to 9-3, and will play with a gimpy Kalin Lucas for the rest of the season. I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure Lucas' ankle will not heal by playing on it.

Illinois and Ohio State, meanwhile, we're two of four teams tied for second place last week, and now they're the two teams tied with Michigan State for first place. The Illini pulled off a rare win at Wisconsin Tuesday, and will welcome Ohio State to Assembly Hall on Sunday.

That large game begins a huge stretch for Ohio State, which follows its Illinois visit with a home date against Purdue on Wednesday, then travels to Michigan State on Feb. 20.

Meanwhile, those Boilermakers are lurking just a half game back at 8-3 and Wisconsin is 8-4. One game separates five teams. That will be fun to watch.

Are you following me on Twitter? @onegreatseason | @johnpwise


No. 9: Duke vs. Connecticut, 1999

UConn wins the 1999 national championship

Each Monday until the national championship is played in Indianapolis on April 5, One Great Season will count down the Top 10 National Championship games since 1979, when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson squared off in Salt Lake City. Today's No. 9 is the 1999 championship game between Connecticut and Duke, played in St. Petersburg, Fla.

One Great Season

Connecticut and Duke were the only teams to be ranked No. 1 during the 1998-99 regular season, so when the Huskies and Blue Devils won their Final Four semifinal games on March 27, expectations for a great title game shot through the roof of Tropicana Field.

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And the sides didn't disappoint two nights later. UConn won its first national championship, 77-74, over a seemingly unbeatable Duke team that was playing in its eighth title game.

The Blue Devils hadn't lost since November and were going for an NCAA record 38 victories, as well as the school's third national championship.

Connecticut, meanwhile, was a fairly new player in the elite class of college basketball. The Huskies got to the Elite Eight to open the 1990s, only to lose to Duke when Christian Laettner's buzzer-beater sent the Devils to the Final Four.

But to close the decade during which Duke won two national titles, Connecticut earned its first crown for coach Jim Calhoun by playing an up-tempo game that many thought would have favored Duke's more athletic players.

The Huskies, however, got 27 points from All-American Richard Hamilton, as well as two huge defensive stops late in the game.

Connecticut's Ricky Moore, one of the top defenders in the country, got great positioning to force Duke's sharpshooting guard, Trajan Langdon, into a late traveling violation. Moments later, UConn's Khalid El-Amin converted two free throws to stretch the Huskies' lead to 77-74 with 5.2 seconds left.

And when Duke looked for Langdan on its final possession, the fifth-year senior couldn't even get a potential game-tying shot launched because he fell near the three-point arc and lost control of the ball.

With that, UConn had its crown and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was left to ponder a sixth title-game loss.

The Top 10 National Championship Games Since 1979

+ No. 10: Indiana State vs. Michigan State, 1979

Wednesday Hoops Notebook: Badgers Ready To Pounce

Jordan Taylor

One Great Season

After Tuesday's convincing defeat of Michigan State, Wisconsin (17-5, 7-3 Big Ten) has a very favorable remaining schedule down the stretch. The Badgers already have split with Purdue and Ohio State, and the toughest league opponent left for them is Illinois, which Wisconsin will play twice. Two games against Indiana also await, as do games against Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern and Iowa.

The Badgers seem to be rounding into form as they await the return of Jon Leuer. Left on Michigan State's schedule are road dates at Illinois and Purdue, as well as home games against Ohio State and Purdue. And Sparty (19-4, 9-1) might have to play without reigning Big Ten Player Of The Year Kalin Lucas, who left Tuesday's game with a badly sprained ankle.

With Purdue getting healthy and Ohio State playing some nice basketball, the conference race just got a lot more interesting.

TWITTER NOTES: Here's a sign that we are definitely living in an interesting time: Ohio State star Evan Turner, whose Twitter handle is @thekidet, offered up a sympathetic note ("glad u ain't get hurt on that fall my dude") to Syracuse star Wesley Johnson -- @W_Johnson -- after Johnson landed very awkwardly during Tuesday's game against Providence.

Shortly after Syracuse wrapped up the easy win, Johnson, who ended up being OK, reciprocated: "Appreciate it bro."

TEXAS BOAST: I know it's just one win, but I think Texas has broken free from its slump. You barely heard the names Damion James, Avery Bradley, Dexter Pittman or J'Covan Brown on Monday night's broadcast, yet the Longhorns beat a decent Oklahoma State team on the road by a dozen. That's impressive, as was Jordan Hamilton's second-half scoring spree.

UCONN'T HANDLE THIS TRUTH: Connecticut isn't struggling because its coach, Jim Calhoun, is on medical leave. The Huskies are struggling because they're just not as good as they usually are. Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson are nice guards, but there's not much else about UConn that excites me.