Currently looking to snap a three-game losing streak the University of Connecticut basketball team will tackle their upcoming schedule without head coach Jim Calhoun, who is taking a medical leave of absence.
Wednesday sets up to be an intriguing day in college basketball given some of the matchups. Connecticut and North Carolina set out to stop the bleeding with conference home games and the Huskies will be without head coach Jim Calhoun against St. John's. George Blaney, who has plenty of head coaching experience, will take over until Coach Calhoun returns and the Huskies need a win going into their game against Texas on Saturday. But the Red Storm can be a dangerous foe given their depth and willingness to compete for forty minutes.
Wednesday night doesn't lack for appealing matchups on the hardwood, with one of the best rivalries in the Big East last decade sharing the stage with key games in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 ad Mountain West. Connecticut, who can use a "big" win this season, hosts a resurgent Pittsburgh squad that is one of two Big East teams still undefeated in conference play. Ashton Gibbs has stepped up in recent weeks and the return of Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon has given Jamie Dixon's team more depth on the perimeter.
It's the biggest Saturday of the season thus far in regards to games played with 135 games on the schedule. The afternoon delivers two of the many important contests, with Connecticut visiting Georgetown and Duke taking on Georgia Tech. The Huskies are ranked thirteenth in the polls right now but they lack a headline victory, something that can be attained at the Verizon Center. UConn's "big three" of Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Kemba Walker rank among the nation's best when they're on; they key for them is consistency.
Top 10 Players of the Decade
It was a decade of change in college basketball, as the one-and-done stud became the norm and the four-year player became increasingly rare. Both categories though, the vets & the one-and-dones, made a large impact on the game, as players like Hansbrough & Williams piled up awards at the same clip as Anthony & Durant. Here's my take on the Top 10, post your list in the comments section.
The game of the night on Wednesday may be the Big East opener for both Connecticut and Cincinnati, with the highly-touted Lance Stephenson (Cincinnati) and Ater Majok (UConn) getting their first taste of Big East play. Immensely talented players have made their marks in the conference since its inception but not everyone is 100% ready for that first taste of the Big East's physical nature. But maybe "Born Ready" and Majok are different; at the very least they'll have some talented teammates who have been through the ringer to lean on.
With a lot of talent leaving the Big East, a lot of people felt the conference would be in a down year. However, it currently has the best record of any power-6 conference and has a great shot at putting 7+ teams in the NCAA tournament.
By now, most of you have seen the video of Evan Turner falling on his back, breaking a few bones and writhing in pain. That's an incredible loss for the Buckeyes. Turner was getting some considerable media hype for Player of the Year, and for good reason. He was averaging over 12 rebounds per game...as the team's point guard. Arguably the most versatile guy in college basketball, Turner will now miss two months. That means that his Player of the Year aspirations are all but dashed.
For the second consecutive night Madison Square Garden will be the center of attention in college basketball with the occasion on Wednesday being the first night of the SEC/Big East Invitational. St. John's will be playing at home in the event but the fact that they aren't the showcase game shows how far Norm Roberts' program has to go. But they are improving, a fact that should help them out against Georgia in the first game of the doubleheader. D.J. Kennedy had an outstanding second half in the Red Storm's loss at Duke, a game in which they were able to remain competitive.