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The UConn Fast Break - 3/20/2022
Men's hoops and hockey see their seasons come to a close. Despite the disappointment, we still have a lot to be proud of.
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UConn MBB lost, but there’s no need to panic
It was The Teddy Allen Game. The junior guard scored 37 points and was unstoppable in the final five minutes, scoring 15 of his team’s final 18 points to close out the game as 12-seeded New Mexico State upset the Huskies.
It was an anti-climactic end to a successful men’s basketball season, even if we have to keep waiting for Dan Hurley’s postseason breakthrough. The offense was frequently frustrating and the team could have won more games, but UConn still finished third in the Big East and advanced to the semifinals of the Big East Tournament, where the Huskies lost a one-possession game to a top-notch Villanova team with which they split the season series.
For perspective, this program was ranked No. 179 in KenPom in Kevin Ollie’s final season before Hurley took over. He took the team to the top-100 in 2019. Then they made the tournament in 2021 after COVID-19 canceled the 2020 postseason, and this year’s team locked up an NCAA Tournament bid during the season. A win or two in the tournament this year would have been a nice demonstration of progress, but development in these situations is often not linear and it’s important to look at the bigger picture.
The loss stings, but the program is back where it should be. They’re likely to finish as a top-25 team in KenPom and earned a 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The move to the Big East has been a boon for recruiting and fan interest, and we have every reason to believe the team will continue to improve. Doom and gloom can be easy, but a one-game sample is not a sign that Hurley won’t be successful or that the team is regressing.
For more on the end of the Huskies’ season, and a look at offseason questions, we did a rapid-reaction podcast to discuss - let us know your thoughts!
Teddy Allen leads New Mexico State over Huskies - Dan Hurley’s team had no answer for the junior guard, who scored 37 points.
Tyrese Martin named to Big East all-tournament team - The senior averaged 18.0 points per game inside Madison Square Garden.
Martin key to March success - Speaking of Martin, the Pennsylvania native helped steady the Huskies when Villanova started to get hot in the Big East semifinal.
Huskies fall in Big East semifinal - Villanova got its revenge on the Huskies with a 63-60 win.
March Madness Rewind - Take a stroll down memory lane with Tate George and “The Shot”
Easy win to open NCAA tourney - The Huskies had no problem moving past Mercer in their first-round game.
Despite trying season, Huskies in Bridgeport Regional - It wasn’t always a given, but women’s basketball won’t leave Connecticut unless it advances to the Final Four.
Bueckers looks “really good” in practice - The sophomore star is working on getting back into the swing of things after missing several months with a knee injury.
Chasing Perfection - The latest episode of the podcast focuses on predictions for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Huskies’ season ends in OT loss to UMass - It came down to the wire, and UConn had its chances, but the Minutemen prevailed in the Hockey East title game.
Huge semifinal win - The Huskies took down top-seeded Northeastern to advance to the tournament final.
“It gave me chills” - After an 0-9 start, UConn and Mike Cavanaugh got their first Hockey East Tournament win on Saturday with a victory over Boston University.
Huskies not running from playoff struggles - Without a win in Hockey East Tournament play, the Huskies did not shy away from this note prior to the quarterfinals against Boston University.
Midweek win over USC - The Huskies finished 1-1 in the midweek portion of its spring break trip, with 7-1 results against USC and Long Beach State.
Series win over Pepperdine - UConn lost its 10-game winning streak but still won its fourth consecutive weekend.
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It pays off to practice your PFPs! Ian Cooke beat the runner to the bag and recorded the out as part of his 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball against USC on Tuesday.
Six years ago Thursday, the men’s basketball team celebrated its most recent NCAA Tournament win. The Huskies earned the AAC’s auto-bid and a 9-seed in the South Regional, setting up a first-round date with No. 8 Colorado.
Rodney Purvis led the way with 19 points, while Daniel Hamilton had 17 and Sterling Gibbs added 12 as UConn advanced to the second round with a 74-67 victory. The Huskies exited the tournament in the second round after losing to Kansas.
UConn, Great Pic
Some celebratory shots from the wins over Boston University and Northeastern! The third one is Marc Gatcomb celebrating after his empty-netter to seal the deal in the Hockey East semifinals.
Also, here are some fun ones from baseball’s home opener, at the beautiful Elliot Ballpark.
IceBus hits the brakes, for now
It was going to take a minor miracle for UConn men’s hockey to make the NCAA Tournament but they came really darn close. The impressive semifinal win over Northeastern set up what was easily the biggest game of the program’s Hockey East era. While a league title is great, the real benefit would have been that chance to make a run in the NCAAs.
Nevertheless, Mike Cavanaugh’s squad accomplished quite a bit this year, and for that they should be proud. As Daniel Connolly, the only beat writer in the world for this team, pointed out, this year saw the first winning record since 2014, the most wins in Hockey East play for the program, their first win at Boston College, and the Huskies spent the most time they ever had in the top-20 polls.
With a new arena opening in the fall, Cavanaugh is expected to build on this solid foundation and direction with a new feather in his cap: the program will finally have the facilities to match its ambitions. If recruiting picks up and this type of progress continues, it should only be a matter of time before UConn is hanging banners.
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