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Connecticut Huskies
RECORD: - REGION: South  SEED: 5
COACH: Jim Calhoun CONFERENCE: American
RESULTS| STATS| HISTORY | MESSAGE BOARD | CONNECTICUT INSIDER

Road to the Final Four  ...................................................................................

PREVIOUS GAMES
OPPONENT ROUND RESULT
BYU 1st Round W 58 - 53
Stanford 2nd Round W 85 - 74
Texas Sweet 16 L 82 - 78


ESPN'S TAKE
 

with Jay Bilas

 

The Huskies are an explosive transition team that is young and inexperienced. When UConn plays with poise, this is a difficult team to beat. Jim Calhoun wants his team to explode out on the break and get easy baskets in transition. With Ben Gordon on the perimeter, UConn has a star who can score in a variety of ways and get his own shot. With Emeka Okafor inside, UConn has a devastating defender who allows everyone to get out and pressure the ball with confidence. When UConn plays with toughness and consistency, this is a Sweet 16 team.

Player to Watch

Emeka Okafor
When his shot is falling, there isn't a more dominating low-post player in the country than this defensive player of the year.

Team Statistics
 
Points Per Game 64.2
Rebounds Per Game 33.9
Assists Per Game 11.8
Steals Per Game 4.6
Blocks Per Game 5.2
Turnovers Per Game 11.5
Field Goal % .438
Free Throw % .705
3-Point % .355
3-Pointers Per Game 7.6
Scoring Margin 9.9

How They Got Here
Connecticut has been streaky all season, and the key for the Huskies is to catch a good wave -- and not the kind of wave that almost drowned their NCAA Tournament hopes in January and early February -- in the tournament.

The good news for Connecticut is Coach Jim Calhoun (prostate cancer surgery) and point guards Taliek Brown (broken finger) are back after missing five and four games, respectively, and that the team didn't exactly fall apart without either; the Huskies were 3-1 in games in which both Calhoun and Brown were out.

The bad news is, both were back when the Huskies lost twice near at the end of the regular season, including a disappointing 76-70 loss at home to Providence, although the Huskies rebounded to wax Boston College 91-54. But that's been Connecticut's season in a nutshell.

After opening the season with nine consecutive victories, the Huskies' perfection was punctured 73-63 at Oklahoma on Jan. 7, and Connecticut would lose five of nine games to take on the aroma of a fraud. The Huskies would right themselves, even with Calhoun and Brown going through their health issues, to win five of six games before losing at Pittsburgh and against Providence in three days of early March.

In the final analysis, though, Connecticut has managed quite nicely without Caron Butler -- imagine this team if Butler had stayed in school -- thanks mainly to the development of sophomores Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor, whose combined scoring average jumped from 20.5 to 35.7 points per game.

What We Like
What don't we like? At guard the Huskies have junior Brown, senior junior Tony Robertson and Gordon, who average a combined 37 points and 12 assists. They have explosive athletes on the wing in Denham Brown and Rashad Anderson, and they have the country's best interior defender in Okafor, whose offense skills are catching up to his defensive skills. Okafor is good for 11 rebounds and five blocks per game, the main reasons the Huskies have a plus-6 rebounding edge and have held opponents to 38.5-percent shooting from the floor.

What We Don't Like
Remember our question in the previous section, what don't we like? Well, we don't like this: Frankly, the Huskies are too talented to have the record they have. And that scares us.

This, in our view, is an underachieving team that played at an unacceptable level in midseason, and this was before the losses of Calhoun and Taliek Brown. If the Huskies can flinch against a handful of mid-level Big East teams, they can definitely flinch against anyone they will encounter in the NCAA Tournament, beginning in the first round.



ROSTER
NO NAME HT WT YR  PPG RPG APG MPG FG% FT% 3PT%
  Ben Gordon 6-3  205   19.54.45.033.7.444.805.411
  Emeka Okafor F-C  6-10  255   15.511.00.632.9.580.579.000
  Tony Robertson 6-2  200 Sr 10.33.21.824.1.473.814.424
  Rashad Anderson G-F  6-5  215 Sr 8.41.10.714.6.403.789.395
  Taliek Brown 6-1  195 Sr 7.82.84.826.2.463.563.059
  Denham Brown 6-6  220 Sr 7.83.41.121.5.455.622.426
  Scott Hazelton 6-8  225 Sr 4.62.01.012.0.588.500.000
  Marcus White 6-8  214 Jr 4.05.50.515.9.403.644.000
  Hilton Armstrong F-C  6-11  235   3.03.00.811.6.545.500.000
  Mike Hayes 6-8  215 Sr 2.33.10.212.0.540.400.000
  Shamon Tooles G-F  6-5  230 Sr 2.02.50.411.5.500.739.000
  Chad Wise 6-5  190 So 1.10.30.93.9.3571.000.111
  Justin Brown 7-0  245 Sr 1.01.50.04.0.435.500.000
  Ryan Swaller 6-5  216 Sr 0.60.70.11.1.250.500.000
  Justin Evanovich 6-3  185 Sr 0.31.20.01.2.500.000.000
  Mike Woodward 6-5  215 Sr 0.00.70.01.3.000.000.000



LAST 5 GAMES LEADERS
OPPONENT RESULT POINTS REBOUNDS ASSISTS
@ Boston CollegeW, 91-54   
ProvidenceL, 76-70   
@ PittsburghL, 71-67   
@ Notre DameW, 87-79   
St John'sW, 77-69   


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