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The UConn Fast Break - 1/27/2023
The home stretch for basketball and hockey's regular season are coming up!
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. We’re in crunch time, folks, many important wins to be had between now and MARCH.
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Crunch-time, winter sports
Well, Husky fans, the winter sports season got off to an amazing start but has since cooled off, and now our favorite teams are figuring out how much higher they can lift their ceilings for this season.
For women’s hockey, the Hockey East tournament will be a good barometer of where they stand. The Huskies made a run to the final last year and we’ll be excited to see how far they can go this time.
For men’s hockey, an incredible start gave way to a sluggish middle but Mike Cavanaugh’s squad is flying high after sweeping UMass while getting this program’s first win in the Toscano Family Ice Forum. We want this team to make the NCAA Tournament. That’s the goal.
For women’s hoops, injuries are limiting how far we think this squad can go, but as long as they’ve got Lou Lopez Sénéchal, they’ve got a shot, as we learned last night at Tennessee. They’ve made 14 straight Final Fours, anything less at this point would be disappointing.
For men’s basketball… it’s a little more complicated. That Xavier loss was incredibly disappointing, though not as bad as the inexcusable losses to St. John’s and Seton Hall.
I believe this UConn team can still go all the way in March, weirder things have happened, but its weaknesses are apparent and some of them glaring. At a minimum, they need to win a game in the NCAA Tournament, though their upside is much higher. Realistically, the Sweet 16 seems like a good goal for now.
Huskies at No. 19 in AP Poll - Another slide in the polls.
Stephon Castle named McDonald’s All-American - The first for UConn on the men’s side since Alterique Gilbert.
Volunteers sent away - In a contentious matchup as part of a historic rivalry, UConn came out on top.
Jana El Alfy enrolls early - The incoming freshman isn’t expected to play but will practice and travel with the team.
No timetable for Fudd's return - The UConn star’s knee injury was aggravated in a win against Georgetown.
Chasing Perfection - The latest episode of the podcast looks at Aaliyah Edwards’ All-American case, among other topics.
Two McDonald’s All-Americans for Geno Auriemma - KK Arnold and Ashlynn Shade were named to the game.
All-American Aaliyah? ($) - Will the UConn forward be the program’s latest All-American?
UConn Hockey Hub Podcast ($) - Breakdown of the UMass sweep and looking forward to the Connecticut hockey tournament.
Bracketology ($) - Where does UConn stand in the NCAA Tournament picture with two months to go?
UConn’s best performance of the season finished off UMass ($) - The Huskies put it all together at the right time against their rivals from the north.
Husky Football Forum Podcast - Let’s talk about the offseason!
Report: Kashif Moore to join staff - The former UConn standout will become the program’s wide receivers coach.
Support the most in-depth coverage of UConn men’s hockey around!
Chase Bradley grabbed the overtime winner in the final seconds of overtime on Friday against UMass with this nice snapshot on the rush.
Gampel Pavilion opened on this day in 1990!
UConn men’s basketball opened the new on-campus arena with a victory over then-No. 15 St. John’s by a score of 72-58. The women would top Georgetown in their first game in the new building four days later.
Gampel broke ground in the summer of 1987 to replace the Hugh S. Greer Field House, which held 4,600 and opened in 1954. The start of construction followed Jim Calhoun’s first season with the reigns on the men’s side, while Geno Auriemma had just completed his second year coaching his squad. No one could have imagined how those two men, combined with what was by far (and arguably still is) the best on-campus arena in the Northeast, could have done for their two programs.
The men’s team made a rash of NCAA Tournaments in the 1950s and 1960s, even getting to the Elite Eight in 1964, but that meant just two wins in a 25-team tournament before a 50-point thumping by Duke. After 1967, the program had made it just twice when Calhoun took the head gig. On the women’s side, the Huskies didn’t make any of the first seven NCAA Tournaments, doing so for the first time in 1989.
After Gampel Pavilion opened, so did the floodgates of success. That same year was the Dream Season for the men, in which they went to the Elite Eight in the 64-team format. Including 1990, 22 NCAA Tournaments followed, as did 14 Sweet Sixteens, 10 Elite Eights, five Final Fours, and four national championships, along with a 210-40 record on campus as of the start of this season.
As for the women? They’ve made each NCAA Tournament since 1989 and every Sweet Sixteen since 1994. The Huskies missed the Elite Eight just five times since 1990, making each one since 2006. This isn’t to mention the 14 straight Final Fours and 22 overall, along with 11 national titles. In the years since Gampel Pavilion opened, they have won the national title more often than they’ve missed the third weekend of the tournament.
Unsurprisingly, Auriemma’s team hasn’t lost there since Feb. 3, 2020, and you can count all their defeats at the corner of Hillside Rd. and Jim Calhoun Way on two hands, including postseason tournaments.
UConn, Great Pic
It was a busy UConn weekend, with men’s hockey, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball all in action.
We have all the shots, via Ian Bethune.
UConn football announced eight new transfers and also one new assistant coach for RBs, with a new wide receivers coach reportedly on the way as well. This is a crucial offseason for Jim Mora and UConn football, as we discussed in the latest episode of our football podcast.
You can find more great detailed coverage of this squad throughout the offseason on the Husky Football Forum!
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