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The UConn Fast Break - 2/11/2022
A nine-year streak ends for women's hoops. An NFL Combine invite for a UConn football star. Men's basketball readies for the Big East gauntlet.
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. Andre Drummond is coming (closer to) home.
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Five for the season
After laying an egg at Villanova last Saturday, UConn men’s basketball responded in a big way with a much-needed win against No. 18 Marquette on Tuesday night. The Huskies had lost two straight going in, but jumped out to a big lead early and held on to beat a seriously frisky Marquette squad.
Next up, the Huskies are at Xavier Friday night before another road game, at St. John’s on Super Bowl Sunday. The next three games — against Seton Hall, Xavier, and Villanova, all at home — will make or break the season.
While Villanova is the league’s clear-cut top team, Seton Hall and Xavier are threats as well. Both are looking to move up from the middle of the conference standings and an inconsistent UConn team represents an opportunity for them to climb.
Right now UConn is third in the Big East standings, behind Villanova and Providence, a team that has lost just two games on the season and one in league play but is only ranked 42nd in KenPom. The Friars are not very good but appear to be in the driver’s seat for a top-two seed in the conference barring a late-season collapse. (Usually they wait until early in the postseason to do that.)
It is not going to be easy for UConn to hold on to that third spot. We definitely don’t want to see the Huskies fall any farther than fifth, otherwise they’d have to play on the first day of the Big East Tournament, but it is a possibility. These are the stakes going into this crucial five-game stretch: UConn needs to secure a solid floor for its regular season finish in the conference to set itself up for postseason success.
Men’s basketball takes down Marquette - The Huskies had a strong first half against the Golden Eagles and held on for an 80-72 win, with the team responding well from poor performances in their last few games, which dropped the Huskies to No. 24 in the AP Poll.
Villanova too much for men’s basketball - UConn’s struggles offensively continued, but rebounding was a big issue in the resounding defeat. UConn came back to make the 85-74 score respectable but was thoroughly outplayed.
Men’s hockey surges past Merrimack - #Icebus has now won three straight games and is one back in the loss column for first place in Hockey East with seven games to go.
Men’s hockey takes down New Hampshire - The Huskies had an offensive surge over the final 40 minutes to blow out the Wildcats on their own rink, 6-1.
Men’s hockey victorious over No. 17 Providence - Ryan Tverberg scored the game-winning tally in the third period.
Veteran forwards coming alive - Tenured forwards have started to turn the corner for the men’s hockey team, which is 6-1-0 over its last seven games.
Travis Jones invited to combine - The standout defensive lineman is the only UConn football player to receive an invite this year.
National Signing Day takeaways - Jim Mora has completed his first recruiting class as UConn football head coach, drawing heavily from the transfer portal.
Drummond, Lamb moved at NBA trade deadline - Drummond was moved as part of the James Harden-Ben Simmons deal, while Lamb is headed to Sacramento.
Women’s basketball conference streak broken in loss to Villanova - Though the Huskies came back and made it close, the Wildcats dominated UConn and gave the team its first conference loss since Notre Dame in 2013.
No. 7 Tennessee no match for women’s basketball - The Huskies earned a 19-point win, blowing the visiting Volunteers out of XL Center.
Caroline Durcharme held out due to head injury - The team has stated that it’s not a concussion, but the freshman guard missed both outings against Tennessee and Villanova.
Women’s basketball game against Marquette rescheduled - The game will now be played on Feb. 23 at XL Center, after originally being slated for Dec. 29.
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The surging men’s hockey team had another play on SportsCenter’s Top 10 this week, this one by forward Vladistov Firstov, who had an incredible move to stop on a dime and score the lunging goal to give his team a 4-2 lead against No. 19 Merrimack on Tuesday.
The legendary Jim Calhoun earned his 500th win as UConn head coach 15 years ago this week with a 67-60 victory over Syracuse at Gampel Pavilion on Feb. 6, 2007.
Craig Austrie led the way with 14 points and was one of five UConn players in double-figures. Those five scored 58 of UConn’s 67 points. Austrie was joined by Jeff Adrien, AJ Price, Jerome Dyson, and Marcus Johnson.
This was also the game in which the 16 initial men’s Huskies of Honor banners were unveiled, including Calhoun’s. He was joined by coaches Hugh Greer and Dee Rowe, as well as several former players, including Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Donyell Marshall, Emeka Okafor, Cliff Robinson, and Chris Smith.
Watch a full replay of the game below!
UConn, Great Pic
Basketball had three home contests on the hardwood for our photographer Ian Bethune to shoot. Check out some of the best photos from the games!
Follow the Travis Jones NFL Draft Journey
UConn defensive tackle Travis Jones received an invite to the NFL Combine, and all indications are that he’s a possible second or third round pick. He stood out in a big way at the Senior Bowl, where one analyst called him “the best true nose tackle” there.
The combine will be in the first week of March. After that the Mock Draft hysteria will really begin leading up to the draft from April 28-30.
So far Jones’ draft stock is looking pretty strong, and he has the chance to improve his standing at the combine, where he will get his official height, weight, bench press, 40-yard-dash, etc. and also run through some drills and interviews with coaches.
UConn’s last three NFL Draft picks are: OT Matt Peart (3rd round, 99th overall) in 2020, Foley Fatukasi (6th round, 180th overall) in 2018 and Obi Melifonwu (2nd round, 56th overall) in 2017. Before that, UConn had a stretch from 2007 to 2015 with at least one draft pick, with seven of those years having multiple picks.
There have only been two first-round picks and five second-round picks in program history. Jones has the chance to make that list. As a former in-state recruit, the New Haven native should be every Husky fan’s favorite draft prospect this season!
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