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The UConn Fast Break - 2/26/2022
Our last newsletter before MARCH!
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. It’s almost that time of year — and this postseason should be double the fun!
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All 4 Hockey and B-ball teams are ROCKING
This is setting up to be a truly incredible, and in some ways unprecedented, close to winter sports season in Storrs. For different but very compelling reasons, all four of UConn’s basketball and hockey teams are worth keeping tabs on in the coming weeks.
If you’re not up to speed on the hockey programs, this is basically your last chance to hop on the bandwagon before it gets really crowded. Chris McKenzie’s women’s hockey squad is in the midst of a remarkable 21-5 campaign and holding on to third in Hockey East.
The men’s hockey team also has a good chance of reaching a regular-season high point for the program. The #IceBus is currently ranked higher than its ever been in Pairwise and the Coaches Poll and also has a good chance of advancing in the Hockey East Tournament for the first time ever. The NCAA Tournament may even be a possibility for them.
Of course, UConn women’s basketball has been consistently great over the last two decades, but this has been a challenging year for Geno Auriemma, to say the least (a conference loss?!?!). The emergence of new stars and the return of Paige Bueckers, however, have UConn fans feeling like the sky is the limit once again.
After many years in the wilderness for men’s hoops, the magic is finally back. The XL Center was an absolute madhouse Tuesday night as the Huskies defeated Villanova for the first time since 2014. UConn will finish third in the league most likely, which isn’t aligned with our hopes and dreams before the season, but the Huskies’ postseason ambitions remain intact.
Nobody’s calling them a Final Four contender, but they could win a game or two in the Big Dance, which would be huge for the program’s progress under Dan Hurley.
We’ll have coverage of all the action across The UConn Blog, Storrs Central, and our newsletters!
Men’s basketball ranked No. 21 in AP Poll - UConn moved up three spots from the previous week.
NCAA Tournament in sight - ESPN’s John Gasaway elevated UConn men’s hoops to lock status on his NCAA Tournament Bubble Watch.
Dramatic victory over No. 8 Villanova - Dan Hurley was ejected in the first half, students stormed the court after the win, and Kimani Young did great as the acting coach. It was a wild Tuesday night at the XL Center, ending with a 71-69 win for the Huskies.
Hurley appears on Jim Rome Show - In an approximately 15-minute interview on Wednesday, Hurley discussed his ejection from the Villanova game and more.
Big win over Xavier - James Bouknight was ejected from his courtside seats before ending up in the student section while RJ Cole led the way late.
Huskies win two to open season - Jim Penders’s squad left the USF Baseball Invitational with wins over USF and Louisville.
Ranked No. 19 - The Huskies are tied with Providence for No. 19 in the USCHO Poll. This is the highest ranking in program history.
Winter weather altering plans - UConn will head up to Boston on Thursday prior to its matchup with Northeastern so that snow isn’t an issue.
At-large bid possible - With two weeks to go in the regular season, the Huskies occupy the final at-large position in the NCAA Tournament if the season were to end today.
Jachym Kondelik sets career assist record - With a helper in the first period against UMass on Saturday, the senior broke the tie with Sean Ambrosie for the Division I assists record, with 72.
Jake Richard commits to men’s hockey - The ‘04 forward, currently playing for Muskegon in the USHL, will come to Storrs as part of the Class of 2023.
Big East champs - The Huskies clinched their ninth straight conference championship on Wednesday night when they blew out Marquette, 69-38.
Georgetown crushed - The Hoyas have been struggling all season in both men’s and women’s basketball. UConn won this one by 41.
Dominated Xavier - Buoyed by a 37-0 run, the Huskies showed their might.
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RJ Cole came up clutch three times in the final minute on Tuesday against Villanova. After helping UConn gain possession with a held ball, he scored the go-ahead bucket with 5.9 seconds left.
Then drew the charge that sealed the game on the ensuing possession.
UConn’s last regular-season victory over the Wildcats came 10 years ago this week. On Feb. 20, 2012, in an overtime battle, Shabazz Napier broke the tie with this deep 3-pointer to clinch the win on the road.
Napier played 30 minutes off the bench and hit a pair of 3-pointers for six points, while Jeremy Lamb led the way with 32 points as the only UConn player in double figures.
UConn, Great Pic
RJ Cole lets out a well-deserved roar.
You think Paige Bueckers is happy to be back?
Not everyone’s excited about Bueckers’ return… ⬇️ (for example, these guys)
The crowd at XL for the Villanova game was wild.
(Photos by Ian Bethune)
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