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The UConn Fastbreak - 11/24/2021
A big week for UConn hoops. Also, football season nears its end but recruiting is just getting started.
Welcome to this week’s Fast Break, and thank you for being a subscriber. Wouldn’t you rather be in the Bahamas this week? Me too.
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Big test for UConn vs. Auburn
Men’s basketball is in the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis, where they will open by taking on Auburn today at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.
After rolling through four low-end opponents, Dan Hurley’s squad will have its first chance to prove that it’s for real on the national stage.
All indications are this team is ready.
You don’t want to read too hard into results against bottom-of-the-barrel programs, but UConn beat the KenPom spread in all four games and most importantly kept its intensity up throughout. Hurley said he was “on edge” about their performance Saturday in the win over Binghamton but he’s probably had them working really hard in practice since then.
“They know what’s coming on Wednesday,” Hurley said, expressing confidence in the experience and maturity of his players.
Win or lose, we’ll get to see how these Huskies react against legit competition. Auburn is a deep, talented team that has size and likes to run and shoot. It should be a fun game no matter what.
Stephon Castle commits to UConn - Dan Hurley got the Class of 2023 rolling as guard Stephon Castle announced he’s going to UConn. Ranked No. 25 in the class according to Rivals, he chose UConn over Auburn, Vanderbilt, and Georgia Tech.
Women’s hoops showing signs of weakness - The No. 2 Huskies journeyed to the Bahamas for three games in the inaugural Women’s Battle 4 Atlantis. It started with a big win over Minnesota, followed by a nailbiter against No. 23 USF and then a tough 16-point loss against No. 1 South Carolina in a game that delayed the AP Poll’s release for just the second time in its history.
Saylor Poffenbarger enters transfer portal - Poffenbarger has announced that she will depart the program.
Men’s basketball takes down Binghamton - The No. 22 Huskies moved to 4-0 on the season, beating the Binghamton Bearcats by 24, the team’s closest margin of victory on the season.
LIU destroyed - UConn put on a show against LIU, beating down the Sharks 93-40, with a second half that might have been the best the men have looked all season, with high defensive intensity throughout and an impressive performance from the bench.
UConn football future opponents - With just one game to go, the Huskies will face No. 24 Houston at home on Saturday.
Football depth chart for Houston - Some changes going into the final game of the season.
Jim Calhoun retires, again - The 79-year-old coaching legend stepped down from his job at the University of St. Joseph on Thursday. Glen Miller, longtime associate head coach for the Huskies, will take over for Calhoun.
Harvey Shapiro named to Cape Cod League Hall of Fame - Shapiro, a UConn alum and longtime head coach down the Cape, was inducted into the league’s hall of fame on Sunday.
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Andre Jackson has been dropping thundering dunks. These first two came against Binghamton.
He did the same thing on Wednesday against LIU.
Eleven years ago this week, the 2009 UConn football team had lost three straight after the tragic death of Jasper Howard. On November 21st, 2009 the Huskies hit the road to face Notre Dame on their Senior Day.
ND jumped out a 14-0 lead, but the Huskies hung tough and climbed back thanks to Jordan Todman, who had a 43-yard touchdown run and a 96-yard return touchdown. The Huskies forced overtime with the help of two goal-line stands to force field goals and got their own with 1:10 left to tie it at 20 in regulation.
After forcing yet another Notre Dame field goal in the second overtime, Andre Dixon punched in a 4-yard run to give UConn the win.
UConn, Great Pic
Photographer Ian Bethune was at UConn men’s hockey’s series finale against No. 15 UMass Lowell on Sunday. Here are a few shots from the Huskies’ victory.
What’s the plan for football?
Now that we’ve had some time to adjust to Jim Mora being UConn head coach, it still seems like a a wacky choice but there’s nothing we do about it now. He’s in charge and if UConn football is going to stop being embarassing, he’s gotta make some changes.
The first changes are happening on the recruiting trail, where a number of Class of 2022 committments have started announcing their intention to re-open their recruitment.
This is not uncommon, or any negative reflection of Mora, but hopefully something they can overcome. Mora being on the staff now allows him to make committable offers to recruits, so they should be able to bring in a decent class for the December signing period anyway.
As has been stated repeatedly, Mora needs to make use of the transfer portal if he’s going to be successful at UConn. The way college football is today, and given UConn’s low status, it would be foolish to think otherwise. Given the current makeup of the roster, with about 10 players that would be seniors next year and about 20 rising juniors—and no indications all of them will stay—it might be smart to bring in more upperclassmen to even things out.
Right now over 50 players are listed on the roster as freshmen or redshirt freshmen. They won’t all be on the team next year, either, most likely, but this imbalance needs to be fixed.
Unlike his predecessor, Jim Mora is actually inheriting a poorly managed roster. It’s going to take some time to get it looking like a normal FBS roster, but he really needs to hit the portal hard. I’m hoping for a dozen transfers joining the team this offseason at least, and maybe another dozen transfers the next year. That’s what it’s going to take to move this thing in the right direction.
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