UConn’s Jim Calhoun retiring

jim calhoun retires

Controversial coach Jim Calhoun is leaving Connecticut the same way he coached it to three national titles – on his terms.

The 70-year-old Hall of Famer scheduled a news conference for 2 p.m. Thursday to announce his retirement, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

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#76 UConn Huskies: College Basketball 111 in 111

jim calhoun retires

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series.  Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.

We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

With Jim Calhoun’s retirement announcement, the UConn Huskies will enter a new era as they will have a different head coach for the first time in a quarter of a century.  Former Husky Kevin Ollie inherits a team that loses several key players from last year’s squad which vastly underachieved and will ineligible for post-season play in 2013.

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Who is UConn’s Andre Drummond gonna be in the NBA?

Andre Drummond

The hardest thing to do is evaluate, compare, and predict how a player is going to pan-out at the next level. It’s especially difficult when the player extremely under-performed in his one season before turning pro. That’s the case with Connecticut’s Andre Drummond.

Here’s my take. [Read more…]

UConn’s Nightmare Year Continues; Huskies ineligible for 2013 NCAA Tournament

Just one year ago, the UConn men’s basketball team was celebrating a national championship, the ultimate culmination for a team that underwent a huge transformation at the end of the regular season, going from mediocre to interesting to, “wow, is Kemba Walker really good enough to singlehandedly lead this team to a national championship?” The Huskies answered that question with an emphatic yes, but the celebratory days of Kemba-madness appear long-gone now.

The  NCAA informed the Huskies Thursday night that it had turned down their latest appeal to be eligible for the 2013 postseason. UConn was ruled ineligible because of several years of sub-standard  Academic Progress Rate scores. Its waiver request was based upon the claim that its academic scores have improved over the last two seasons. Although its appeal was denied, the school will still try to become eligible by forcing a rule change whereby the recently improved test scores would be accepted. Such efforts are unlikely to be successful.

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#4 UConn Huskies: College Basketball 111 in 111

uconn huskies cheerleaders

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

The UConn Huskies are coming off a year in which they put together one of the most memorable post-season runs in college basketball history.  They won five games in five days to claim the Big East Tournament Title and didn’t cool off once the NCAA Tournament began, cutting down the nets in Houston.  Even though Jim Calhoun loses the heart and soul of his team, Kemba Walker, the early arrival of Andre Drummond will once again make UConn a national title contender.

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NCAA Revenue Producing Sports Utterly Corrupt; Time for Drastic Change

tresselcalipari

There couldn’t have been a more fitting end to the 2010-11 NCAA revenue producing sport season than what went down in Houston. In a town dominated by Halliburton, graft and corruption was again king as Ohio State Buckeyes Athletic Director Gene Smith, who presides over a suspended college football coach (Jim Tressel), handing the trophy to a soon-to-be suspended college basketball coach (UConn’s Jim Calhoun). The program being sanctioned beat the Butler Bulldogs, who are ostensibly clean.

And Calhoun got to this game by defeating a Kentucky Wildcats program run by coach John Calipari, who had his two previous trips to the Final Four (1996 at Massachusetts, 2008 at Memphis) vacated due to violations.

The trophy presentation was preceded by NCAA president Mark Emmert‘s  quote, “What A Wonderful Championship!” Given how it was literally the ugliest title game in college basketball history, it’s fair to say he was probably lying with that statment.

But that’s nothing compared to how he came off in his interview for HBO Real Sports. In that segment, he almost seemed like a college sports version of Bernie Madoff.

By Paul M. Banks

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UConn Huskies Beat Butler Bulldogs in UGLIEST NCAA Title Game EVER

In Oliver Stone’s classic film Wall Street, the iconic main character Gordon Gekko describes terrible, worthless stocks as “dogs” and “dogs with fleas.” In another line of dialogue, he asks his mentee Bud Fox. “I bet you were up all night analyzing that dogshit stock?”

I guess Mr. Gekko didn’t like canines too much.

His metaphors certainly apply to a college basketball game that the NCAA would probably want us all to erase from our memory. If you were tweeting along with the Butler Bulldogs vs. UConn Huskies national title game tonight, you probably noticed a lot of people saying some nasty things about the 53-41 UConn win. Harsher words than “dogshit” even.

By Paul M. Banks

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Butler vs. UConn: National Championship Drinking Game

brad stevens butler

Welcome to the third annual NCAA Tournament Championship Drinking Game, one of our favorite articles every year here at The Sports Bank.  If you missed our first two editions, you can check the 2009 Michigan State vs. North Carolina version and last year’s Butler vs. Duke one.

Even if you do not have a rooting interest in tonight’s game between Butler and UConn, invite some friends over, buy a heck of a lot of booze, follow our drinking rules, and it will be as much fun as if your own team was playing.

Our lawyer insists we add the following: The Sports Bank is not responsible for anyone dumb enough to actually try this and the harm to his/her body that would certainly occur if this game was played.  If you are idiotic enough to attempt keeping pace with this game, please have your local emergency room on stand-by and do not drink and drive.  Thank you.

By: David Kay and Peter Christian
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Who Really Thought the UConn Huskies Would Get Here?

Kemba Walker nba

The Connecticut Huskies have quietly been the surprise of the season. Butler and VCU are the surprises of the tournament, yes, but no one expected this out of Connecticut.  This season has been full of surprises, but there hasn’t been one bigger than the progression of the Connecticut Huskies.

The team went through the Jim Calhoun recruiting violations and his possible retirement.  They were considered a team that was too young and couldn’t handle the distractions that surrounded them. They were considered to only be a one man show and no way could they survive the Big East. Then, they started off the season surprising top 10 ranked teams in the Michigan State Spartans and Kentucky Wildcats in Maui. Everyone fell in love with Kemba Walker and named him king of college basketball. Until the Jimmer took over, Kemba was the nation’s leading scorer.

But then the inexperience and youth showed itself during the rigorous Big East schedule while the Huskies struggled down the stretch. With only a 9-9 record in the conference they were more like the team they were supposed to be – a young team with talent that wasn’t ready.

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UConn’s Jim Calhoun very Impressed by Notre Dame

So how important were Notre Dame’s basketball victories over #8 Georgetown and #9 Connecticut in the last week? Well it hasn’t happened in a half-century. The last time Notre Dame defeated AP top 10 teams in back-to-back home games came in 1960-61. They defeated #7 DePaul 61-58, then #7 St. John’s 64-63. Which is especially impressive when you consider they finished 12-14 that season.

Those are the only two times it’s happened in Irish college basketball history.
On Tuesday night they significantly limited UConn’s Kemba Walker, the nation’s leading scorer, and it caught the attention of Jim Calhoun, the dean of Big East coaches.

“Mike’s (Brey, Irish Coach) is doing one of the best jobs in the league because it’s a nice team, a nic team to watch playing together,” said Calhoun.

“They’re good because they move the ball, they have the outside threat, (Ben) Hansbrough is a son-of-a-gun competitor, amd Timmy (Abromaitis) is one fo the most improved players in the country, and the work ethic he’s put in tobecome as good as he is really speaks well.”

By Paul M. Banks

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Nation’s Leading Scorer (UConn’s Kemba Walker) Badly Needs Help

Kemba Walker

Depending on how you define “mid-major” and “high major,” the leading scorer in all of college basketball usually doesn’t come from a high-major power conference. Houston’s Aubrey Coleman took home the honor last year. And going back to 1998-99 (take a look at the list here), I guarantee you’ve never heard of any of the scoring champions, other than Davidson’s Stephen Curry in ’09 and Adam Morrison in ’06 of course.

Why? Because power conference teams have more depth and talent than the small schools, enabling them to spread the ball around and away from their most talented player. The little guys can’t.

Connecticut’s 6-1 Junior point guard Kemba Walker is the nation’s leading scorer, averaging 26.5 points per game. In addition, he leads the Big East in steals.

By Paul M. Banks

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#14 Notre Dame Beats #8 UConn: Chicago Area’s Best Team?

abromaitis

Although Notre Dame is about a two hour drive from Chicago, and within a different state and time zone as the second city- they still might be Chicago’s best college basketball team.

In college football, the Irish have captured the hearts of Chicago. And if winning like this in hoops continues (a 73-70 win over #8 Connecticut Tuesday night) they might just become the favorite in college hoops too.

The Irish came out of the gates shooting lights out from distance (going 7-14 from behind the arc in the first half), and never trailed the entire game. On the other end, they limited the nation’s leading scorer Kemba Walker to 19 (8 below his average) on 8-23 shooting. Thus ended Kemba’s 11 game 20+ scoring streak.

By Paul M. Banks

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