Saturday, March 08, 2008

They're No. 4

Cincinnati's charter arrived at Bradley Airport at about 9:30 p.m. So, game on for tomorrow at 6 p.m. in Storrs.

The game took on slightly less significance following Notre Dame’s win at South Florida tonight. The Irish clinched third place and the No. 3 seed in the Big East tournament with the win, meaning UConn will finish fourth and be the No. 4 seed. That means the Huskies will play at 2 p.m. on Thursday against the winner of the previous day’s No. 5 vs. No. 12 game. West Virginia will be the No. 5 seed, and either Providence or DePaul will be No. 12.

If DePaul wins at Pittsburgh tomorrow at noon, DePaul gets the 12th seed. If DePaul loses, Providence is in.

Assuming DePaul loses tomorrow, the big question is: Would the Huskies rather play 22-9, 11-7 West Virginia, a team likely headed to the NCAA tournament, or Kryptonite ... er, Providence, a team' that's 15-15, 6-12 but has beaten UConn three straight times, twice this season?


Thought plowing the streets of Connecticut was bad? It is. But it's even worse in Ohio. My brother lives in Columbus, where more than a foot of snow has fallen over the pst 24 hours, and he says the roads haven't been plowed because they're simply not used to this much snow.

About 10 inches fell in Cincinnati, keeping the Bearcats from flying to Connecticut for today's scheduled game. The team is scheduled to fly out on a charter tonight at 7:30. The game, of course, has been postponed until tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Gampel.


UConn's slated game with Cincinnati has been moved to Sunday at 6 p.m. at Gampel. Cincinnati has been unable to depart for Connecticut due to severe weather conditions in Ohio and is not expected to arrive in Connecticut until Saturday evening at the earliest.

The game will be televised live on WCTX-TV, MyTV9 in Connecticut and also broadcast on the WTIC-AM 1080/UConn Radio Network.

Game tickets for the originally scheduled contest will be accepted at the door Sunday night.

Game Time Change for Saturday

I usually try to be prompt with news regarding UConn hoops, but went out tonight with the wife and some friends and without the cell phone and didn't check messages until I got home. Anyway, as most of you probably know by now ...

The start time for the University of Connecticut men's basketball game on Saturday against the University of Cincinnati has been moved to 8 p.m. at Gampel Pavilion due to travel issues and winter weather in Ohio.

Cincinnati has been unable to leave for Connecticut due to heavy snow and is not expected to be able to do so in time for the game to take place at its normally scheduled time of 4 p.m. If the Bearcats are unable to leave for Connecticut by 2 Saturday in order to arrive for an 8:00 p.m. tip-off, then the game will be played on Sunday, March 9 at 6 p.m. in Storrs.

Please check and local media outlets after 2 p.m. Saturday for up-to-date information. Regardless of when the game is played, it will be televised live on WCTX-TV, MyTV9 in Connecticut.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Cycling vs. Cancer

Coach Jim Calhoun and David Cordani, president of CIGNA HealthCare in Bloomfield, today announced that CIGNA has agreed to serve as title sponsor of the Jim Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride for 2008. Coach Calhoun also announced Sunday, June 8 as the date for this year’s event. The CIGNA-Jim Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride benefits The Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center, and Coaches vs. Cancer. The event will include bike rides of 10, 25 and 50 miles and will start and finish in Simsbury, Conn. Coach Calhoun is a cancer survivor and will participate in the 50-mile ride.

Coach Calhoun also announced major sponsorship support for the ride from the Hartford law firm of RisCassi and Davis, Mohegan Sun, McPhee Electric, Crocs, the UConn Alumni Association and Comcast.

To register for the ride as a single rider or as a team, or to donate to Coach’s ride (he is riding in the 50 mile ride), interested parties should visit the CIGNA-Jim Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride website at . There is a $30 fee to register as a rider and a minimum fundraising requirement of $200 per rider. All riders will receive a gift bag containing a ride shirt as well as a pair of Crocs as a thank you for participation. Individuals who raise $2,500 or more will also receive special recognition and gifts from Coach Calhoun. Twenty-five thousand dollars of the funds raised will go to support the work of Coaches vs. Cancer with the balance of proceeds directed to the UConn Foundation, Inc. for the benefit of The Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UConn Health Center.

To find out more about the event, visit , or call Gold, Orluk & Partners at 860-674-1500.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Majok at The Dunk

The Providence coaching staff left some tickets behind the Friars' bench for Ater Majok, his cousin Majok Majok and coach Ed Smith for Thursday night's game. It was a nice gesture, because Ater Majok was clearly at the Dunkin' Donuts Center to see UConn.

In fact Majok, a 6-foot-9 forward from Sudan via Australia, will make an unofficial visit to UConn on Saturday for the Huskies' 4 p.m. regular-season finale with Cincinnati at Gampel Pavilion.

"I like the way they play, I like the coach," Majok said of the Huskies, adding he's looking forward to seeing "everything -- the university, how the classes are, everything about how life is at UConn" on this weekend's visit.

Majok added that UConn is particularly attractive because it has not only put many players in the NBA, but it has put many players who have similar games as Majok in the NBA (see: Gay, Rudy).

Majok, who boasts a 7-4 wingspan, is the 30th-ranked power forward among Class of 2008 high school players, according to But if he played more in America, it's likely Majok would be rated much higher.

Born in Sudan, Majok, 20, moved with his family to Ethiopia as a child, then went to Australia at about age 13. He plays at the American International School in Carlingford, Australia, under Smith, who used to coach UConn assistant Andre LaFleur in Australia.

Majok also plays for the Heat Basketball Academy in Virginia under coach Jason Niblett during the offseason.

Majok will return to Australia on March 15 and isn't sure if he'll make another visit before then. He has visited Maryland and Baylor, and also accompanied his cousin on a recent visit to Seton Hall. Providence is also very interested in Majok Majok, who won't graduate until 2010.

Ater Majok will make his collegiate decision in April.

Majok To See Plenty of UConn

Ater Majok, the 6-foot-9 forward from Sudan via Australia, is expected to be at tonight's game with his equally-talented cousin, Majok Majok, as guests of Providence. But he's really here to see UConn.

In fact, both Ater Majok and Majok Majok will be at Gampel Pavilion on Saturday for UConn's 4 p.m. game with Cincinnati on unofficial visits. More to come ...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A.J. for the Big O Trophy?

A.J. Price has been nominated for the Oscar Robertson trophy, awarded annually to the USBWA's Player of the Year.

Here's the list of nominees: D.J. Augustin (Texas); Michael Beasley (Kansas State); Chris Douglas- Roberts (Memphis); Shan Foster (Vanderbilt); Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina); Luke Harangody (Notre Dame); Robbie Hummel (Purdue); Kevin Love (UCLA); A.J. Price (Connecticut); D.J. White (Indiana).

It is the nation's oldest award and the only one named after a former player. The legendary Oscar Robertson was the USBWA's first player of the year in 1959. The USBWA renamed its player of the year award the Oscar Robertson Trophy in 1998.

Jim Calhoun was not nominated for the Henry Iba Award. Here's the list of coaches who were: Rick Barnes (Texas); Keno Davis (Drake); John Calipari (Memphis); Mike Krzyzewski (Duke); Lon Kruger (UNLV); Sean Miller (Xavier); Matt Painter (Purdue); Bruce Pearl (Tennessee); Rick Pitino (Louisville); Bo Ryan (Wisconsin); Herb Sendek (Arizona State); Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt).

Revenge on Huskies' minds

Think there's no rivalry between UConn and Providence? Think again.

The Friars' 77-65 victory over the Huskies on Jan. 17 at the XL Center did more than just convince UConn it had to get better in a hurry. It infuriated the Huskies.

A.J. Price, Doug Wiggins and Jeff Adrien said after practice today that PC players were taunting the UConn bench and talking a lot of trash during that game, in which the Friars hit 14 3-pointers. Here's what those three had to say:

Wiggins: "They were walking by our bench laughing, rubbing it in our face. It's definitely a revenge game for us. I remember all of it."

Adrien: "(PC players were) name-calling ... it was something to remember. They beat us the last two times we played them, so it's payback. We're going out to end that team's season."

Price: "It was real disrespectful. They don't know how to win, in my opinion, and it showed. They were laughing, mocking, talking a lot of junk out there. That's fresh in our minds. We've definitely got something to play for ... We know we can pretty much end their season ... We want to blow them out, that's what we're going to play for. I usually have a lot more respect for teams, but they showed a lack of respect last time we played them. They beat up on us and tried to make a mockery of us -- laughing, talking, yelling at our bench. I can't really respect teams who play that way."

Ouch. This could get ugly (and fun) tomorrow night.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Decision '08

Jim Calhoun was scanning down the ballot for Big East all-conference selections the other day, and found it as difficult a task as dissecting the Louisville 2-3 zone.

“It’s hard,” Calhoun said. “There are just so many good players, and good young players, I might add.”

With 16 teams, at least half of which believe they belong in the NCAA tournament, it’s particularly tough to pick an all-Big East team. Here’s who'd get my votes:

Luke Harangody
, Notre Dame; Sam Young, Pittsburgh; Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati; Kentrell Gransberry, South Florida; Scottie Reynolds, Villanova; David Padgett, Louisville; A.J. Price, Connecticut; Paul Harris, Syracuse; Roy Hibbert, Georgetown; Joe Alexander, West Virginia.

Draelon Burns
, DePaul; Donte Greene, Syracuse; Jonny Flynn, Syracuse; Kyle McAlarney, Notre Dame; Dominic James, Marquette; Jerel McNeal, Marquette; Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut; Jonathan Wallace, Georgetown; Terrence Williams, Louisville; Brian Laing, Seton Hall.

Geoff McDermott
, Providence; Dominque Jones, South Florida; Jeff Adrien, Connecticut; Eugene Harvey, Seton Hall; Earl Clark, Louisville; DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh; JR Inman, Rutgers; Tory Jackson, Notre Dame.

Donte Greene
, Syracuse; Dominique Jones, South Florida; Jonny Flynn, Syracuse; Jeremy Hazell, Seton Hall; Dar Tucker, DePaul, DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh; Corey Chandler, Rutgers; Mac Koshwal, DePaul; Rick Jackson, Syracuse; Mike Davis, Seton Hall.

Luke Harangody, Notre Dame: In conference play, leads Big East in scoring (21.1 ppg) and second in rebounding (10.5). Tough to argue against that.

Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
: Notre Dame’s Mike Brey will probably win, but a lot of people thought the Irish were better than their 9th-place prediction in the preseason poll. Plus, he’s got the POY. Calhoun has done a masterful job contouring the Huskies to their strengths, thriving for nine games without their top returning scorer and rebounding from last year’s ugliness. Those who’ve watched the program a lot longer than I have say this could be his best coaching job yet.

Donte Greene, Syracuse
: He’s averaging 17.1 points, 7.4 boards and 1.75 blocks, beating out a tough field that includes teammate Jonny Flynn and Pitt’s DeJuan Blair.

Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut
: Even when he doesn’t block shots (and he’s done that more than anyone in the Big East), his mere presence in the middle of the lane alters the way opponents attack UConn.

A.J. Price, Connecticut
: They say it usually takes two years to rebound from missing a season (or in Price’s case, two missed seasons). He certainly did that this year.

(Wow, I just realized how pro-UConn this awards list must appear. Lest you think I'm a homer, consider that I grew up in Rhode Island as a Providence fan and have no allegiance to the Huskies -- other than watching them for what seems like every day since November. Incidentally, Jeff Adrien earned a spot on this week's Big East Honor Roll, and the Huskies moved up to No. 13 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll)