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The UConn Fast Break - 1/6/2023
Trying times for both basketball teams, for different reasons.
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. Happy new year? Hardly!
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Men’s basketball struggling a little
UConn men’s hoops is on a losing streak, for the first time this season, after losses on the road to Xavier and Providence.
UConn’s physical brand of defense leading to fouls, combined with its weakness at getting to the free-throw line, has been a hindrance as of late, while 3-point shots are also not falling as they had.
The Huskies got to the line for just 28 free throws against the Musketeers and Friars combined and shot exactly 50 percent. Their opponents in those games had 63 (!) from the charity stripe with 52 makes, which is 82.5 percent and a differential of 38 points. The Huskies lost these games by a combined 22 points.
It’s fruitless to have a discussion on the quality of refereeing, particularly when UConn left 14 points at the free-throw line and bad refereeing is everyone’s problem. Making shots and shot selection are the bigger issues for UConn, after going 18-59 the past two nights from beyond the arc.
The Big East is a tough league. Xavier and Providence are the second- and fourth-best teams the Huskies have faced thus far, respectively, and are the best in a true road environment. The schedule doesn’t get any easier, though.
Outside shooting can definitely come and go in waves and this may just be a blip on the radar, but teams have gotten wise to Andre Jackson, as he has taken 15 3-pointers over these losses, which leads the team. Some of these came in a frenetic comeback attempt against Xavier, but he should not be the one taking most of UConn’s threes. That honor goes to Jordan Hawkins, who has been solid but needs to develop that edge to take over games.
Ultimately, we don’t need to sound the alarms after two tough games on the road, but UConn does have some stuff to clean up going into the next game against Creighton (12 p.m., FOX, Gampel Pavilion) and the rest of the Big East schedule.
Xavier drops Huskies - Dan Hurley’s team suffered its first loss of 2022-23 to Xavier on the back of weak outside shooting and inopportune technical fouls. The Huskies dropped to No. 4 in the AP Poll after this loss.
Xavier crossed out - Despite missing Aaliyah Edwards in the second half, the Huskies took down the Musketeers in dominant fashion.
Bulldogs’ bark worse than their bite - In a battle of the dogs, it was the Huskies that came out on top over Butler.
Golden Eagles no match for UConn - Marquette struggled on the road against a dangerous UConn team.
Ducharme in concussion protocol - The guard missed both road games against Xavier and Butler.
Geno out for now - The head coach said he’s taking a step back from the team to focus on his health.
Chasing Perfection - The latest episode of the podcast focuses on the Huskies’ impressive run of play as of late.
Huskies jump the Sharks - #Icebus swept LIU but it was closer than we wanted.
Frozen Fenway Preview - An exciting showcase at the iconic baseball stadium.
Tage Thompson named an All Star - Thompson’s having a tremendous season for the Buffalo Sabres.
The Forecheck - This week’s newsletter looks at the Huskies’ history in outdoor games as they go outside against Northeastern on Saturday.
Mason Kesselring signs NLI ($) - The ‘04 forward will join the Huskies in the fall.
UConn Hockey Hub Podcast ($) - The podcast discusses the sweep of LIU and looks ahead to Frozen Fenway.
Mumu Bin-Wahad commits - A three-star cornerback in the Class of 2022, Bin-Wahad comes from West Virginia.
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We’ve got two great ones this week:
First from men’s hockey, a great tic-tac-toe goal as part of the second win over LIU.
The second is Andre Jackson, turning the corner and throwing down the slam.
After the crazy Fiesta Bowl between No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 TCU, let’s head on back to 2011 and UConn’s Fiesta Bowl appearance. In 10 years, the Huskies went from 1-AA to a BCS bowl by virtue of winning the (tiebreaker for the) 2010 Big East championship.
The Huskies finished 5-2 in the Big East in a three-way tie with West Virginia and Pitt. The Huskies beat both schools by a combined five points and needed to beat USF on the last day of the season to clinch the BCS berth.
With 17 seconds remaining, Dave Teggert drilled a 52-yarder to send UConn to postseason glory.
Though the final score of the Fiesta Bowl was lopsided, the Huskies even competed for most of the game, trailing by just 14 points midway through the fourth quarter. But the Sooners’ offense, led by DeMarco Murray and Landry Jones, was too much and Oklahoma won by 28.
UConn, Great Pic
Some great shots from the action in a very loud XL Center as UConn took down Villanova. Though the Huskies have lost two straight since this game, the vibes and memories of this night were tremendous. Downtown Hartford was buzzing!
UConn women’s basketball is having a brutal season.
The injuries have not stopped coming, since before the season even started. Ten players have suited up for the Huskies, not including Paige Bueckers and Ice Brady, who suffered season-ending injuries before playing a minute. Only three players (Lou Lopez-Sénéchal, Ayanna Patterson, and Aaliyah Edwards) have appeared in all 15 games, with Edwards in danger of missing time due to an ankle injury that forced her to miss the second half of Thursday’s win over Xavier.
Head coach Geno Auriemma has also missed four games due to illness and will not return until he’s ready, according to UConn. Auriemma also spent some time away from the team after his mother died late last year.
Despite all this, the Huskies are 13-2 and ranked in the top 10, even though they have played several games with just seven scholarship players available. Associate head coach Chris Dailey is now 17-0 as acting head coach and even though they lost the national player of the year before the year started in Bueckers, and a POY candidate in Azzi Fudd has missed eight games and counting, the Huskies keep on trucking. It’s a remarkable demonstration of the strength and resilience of this program and the people involved.
Because of the ridiculously high standards around this team, a 13-2 start may seem like a disappointment. But if they can get back to mostly healthy by the time March rolls around, make no mistake, this is a Final Four caliber squad.
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