Saturday, December 30, 2006

Quick observation from West Virginia


UConn suffered its first loss, 81-71, just a few hours ago to West Virginia.
Things to keep in mind: The Big East season is quick, but this remains just one game.
Doug Wiggins did play well, a small footnote for the Huskies, though.
South Florida is a different type of team and UConn will return to the friendly confines of the Hartford Civic Center for that one Tuesday.
The key to the game, though, besides Frank Young's 22 points and West Virginia's 1-3-1 zone, was someone who only thrives in head coach John Beilein's system.
Sophomore forward Joe Alexander did everything needed to produce the win.
He played the top of the 1-3-1, remained athletic in the zone as well as on the boards, and finished with 12 points and six rebounds.
The 6-foot-8 Alexander was a solid prospect at Hargrave Military, but what distinguishes him from the rest of the players who attended Hargrave is that Alexander "is" Beilein's type of player.
He is one of the more underrated players in the Big East and will probably only remain a blip on the conference radar this season.
The future may be different.

West Virginia pregame


Some things to note about the West Virginia Coliseum.

Impressive building even with the looming architecture from the outside.

Inside, the university pays homage to past athletes with plaques. Jerry West is hard to miss. His likeness is everywhere. His number is retired. He's actually looking at me right now in the media room, an artisitc rendering of him, that is.

Same goes for the moutaineer in the corner with the musket. He's looking at me right now as well.

And the crowd, even with the Gator Bowl on Monday, has filled the building. Blue and gold everywhere. There's something to be said about tradition.

As for the game, check out the Register's story today on the Mountaineers' 1-3-1.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Light reading, Coppin State

Forget for a moment that Coppin State is 2-9 and lost to Alabama by 50 on Saturday.

OK, moving on.

UConn's Big East schedule begins Saturday at West Virginia so from this point on, there will be more UConn and conference doings than random samplings from around the country.

Those will still be included, but there will be plenty to add even though the Huskies have completed one-third of their schedule.

See you at the Civic Center.

Here are some stories to hold you over, and maybe through tonight's game.

When Bobby Gonzalez first took over at Seton Hall, a friend told him the biggest obstacle is the fact that his team plays at the cavernous Meadowlands or Continental Arena or whatever. Here is how the first-year coach is coping.

Eddie Sutton is one of the all-time winningest coaches at the Division I level and sits at 798 career victories.
A drunk driving arrest pretty much ended his career at 70, but he still has something to look forward to with both of his sons still coaching.
Has he changed? Let's hope so.

Former Iowa coach Dr. Tom Davis is still doing it at the mid-major level.
Here's an update.

Here's another mid-major story.
They're almost, almost, almost ...

Even though UConn had a huge sampling of low- and mid-majors, its non-conference schedule resumes in another 10 days at LSU and includes Indiana and Georgia Tech.
Here's a look at how Thaddeus Young is doing at Tech.
It will be interesing by the time UConn gets down there in February.

Previews are always bulky but a necessity.
But looking at the Pac-10 rundown from the L.A. Times, it appears as though the conference has a similar look to the Big East at this point in the season, with the exception, of course, being top-ranked UCLA.
Some interesting notes in here.

You decide.

Finally, in case you missed the story in Tuesday's Register about how a North Haven coach balanced a season, a team and his own family after the birth of his son Fabrizio Fiondella, here's another look. Fabrizio was born three months premature in July and is still fighting at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
A chance to help.