Thursday, July 16, 2009

UConn-Tennessee ... on Men's Side?

Will Calhoun vs. Pearl replace Geno vs. Summit as the defining rivalry between UConn and the University of Tennessee?

While the UConn-Tennessee women's basketball rivalry may be on ice, the respective men's teams may start up a rivalry of their own this season.

According to a well-placed university source, the Huskies are looking to host Pearl and his Volunteers this season, shoring up what's already a tough non-conference schedule for UConn. It would be just the second time the two programs have ever met in men's basketball. Tennessee topped UConn, 65-51, in an NCAA South Regional second round game on March 19, 2000 in Birmingham, Ala.

The game, which hasn't been finalized yet, would likely be played late in the season.

The Huskies will also play in the preseason National Invitational Tournament (where they could end up playing Duke) and will play Kentucky at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 9 as part of the third annual SEC/Big East Invitational. They will also travel to Michigan for a bout with the Wolverines.

In other UConn news:

***Little-used 7-foot senior center Jonathan Mandeldove has some academic issues, and it's "up in the air" whether he'll play for the Huskies this season, according to UConn coach Jim Calhoun.

***Calhoun said he is "95 percent" sure that Ater Majok will remain at UConn and forego heading over to Europe to play professionally. Majok would be eligible to play for the Huskies in mid-December.

***Calhoun attended Rip Hamilton's wedding in Boca Raton last week. Kevin Freeman was in the wedding party, and Khalid El-Amin was the only member of the 1999 national championship team's starting five that wasn't in attendance.

Also present: Tom Moore, Dave Leitao and Karl Hobbs, among others. (Presumably, Josh Nochimson wasn't there. Sorry, couldn't resist).

***If anyone's wondering why prized, 6-9 recruit Andre Drummond of Capital Prep hasn't been playing in the Greater Hartford Pro-Am this week, it's because he's traveling with an AAU team.

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