UConn Huskies

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Jim Calhoun has reportedly been offered a coaching job

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Jim Calhoun, the Hall of Fame coach, may be making a return to college basketball in the state of Connecticut.

According to Dom Amore, the longtime UConn reporter for the Hartford Courant, Calhoun, 75, may be lured out of retirement to take over the Division III program at the University of St. Joseph’s in West Hartford.

“I’ve got a couple of other things in the works, one involving basketball, which I’m intrigued by,” Calhoun said. “It’s coaching.”

But this appears to be serious. St. Joseph is starting a Division III men’s basketball program, to begin play in 2018, and posted an opening for a head coach in late June. Calhoun would only say that the school was local, but sources confirmed it is St. Joseph. A decision could come within a week.

Up until review in 2016, St. Joseph’s had been an-all female institution. The university will admit male students in the fall of 2018.

Calhoun has been linked to jobs since his departure from UConn. In 2014, days after Steve Donahue was relieved of his duties at Boston College, a report surfaced that Calhoun, a native of Braintree, Massachusetts, had an interest in the opening. He later dismissed that report, stating on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio, ““No, I’m not interested. … I have not talked to the people at BC.  BC has not talked to me.  You could imagine that with all my Boston ties a lot of people have called me.”

Calhoun, who has not coached since 2012, won 873 in his career. His first head coaching job was at Northeastern before turning UConn into a national powerhouse, winning three national championships. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Since leaving Storrs, he has worked as an analyst for ESPN.

Vance Jackson transfers to New Mexico

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With more than a handful of departures this offseason, New Mexico is set to have a new-look roster for the 2017-18 season. On Monday, Paul Weir, now at the helm of the program, landed a player who should make an impact in the three remaining seasons of eligibility he has left.

Vance Jackson, who spent this past season at UConn, decided to make the move from Storrs to Albuquerque, picking the Lobos over Rutgers, San Diego State, TCU, and Washington.

The 6-foot-8 rising sophomore will have to sit out next year due to NCAA transfer rules before resuming his collegiate career in the fall of 2018.

“The coaches — they trust in me,” Jackson told Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal last month during his official campus visit. “We’re on the same page. They see a vision.”

Weir, who led New Mexico State this past season to a NCAA Tournament appearance in his one and only season as head coach, succeeded Craig Neal in April.

This offseason has been headlined by transfers, though, those mostly were about players leaving the program. Jackson is the second transfer to land at UNM with Akron’s Antino Jackson electing to use his final season of eligibility with the Lobos. Antino Jackson is a graduate transfer, allowing him to play immediately next season.

Vance Jackson, who was rated as the No. 80 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals, averaged 8.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while shooting just under 40 percent from three for the Huskies as a freshman.

UConn lands three-star forward Isaiah Whaley

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UConn added to its incoming freshman class on Thursday evening, landing a commitment from three-star forward Isaiah Whaley.

The news was reported by virtually every major recruiting insider. He made the decision after on an official visit to the Storrs campus. He had recently taken trips to Miami (OH), New Mexico and Saint Louis.

Whaley is a 6-foot-8 power forward from Mt. Zion Prep. He joins a recruiting class that includes four-star forward Tyler Polley, and three-star big men Josh Carlton and Eric Cobb, a junior college transfer.

With Amida Brimah and Kentan Facey both exhausting his eligibility this past season, in addition to Steven Enoch and Vance Jackson both transferring out of the program, Kevin Ollie is bringing in new-look frontcourt for the 2017-18 season.

VIDEO: Mississippi State women ends UConn’s streak with buzzer-beater

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UConn’s streak is over.

The Huskies’ run of 111 consecutive victories and four-straight NCAA tournament championships came to an end Saturday with a 66-64 overtime loss to No. 2 seed Mississippi State in the Women’s Final Four.

It all came crashing down around them at the buzzer in the extra frame when Morgan William hit a 15-footer as time expired.

The Bulldogs led for much of the game and nearly lost it in controversial fashion when they were whistled in overtime for a questionable flagrant foul, but they resisted UConn’s comeback attempt with the buzzer-beater.

Mississippi State knew what it was like to play UConn in the tourney, too. It lost to the Huskies by 60 points last year and most thought this year wouldn’t be close either. UConn coach Geno Auriemma didn’t buy that.

“You know what? When stuff like this happens, it kind of makes me shake my head and go, `You know how many times this could have happened and it didn’t happen?'” Auriemma said. “The fact that it never happened, that doesn’t mean I went home thinking it’s never going to happen. I knew this was coming at some point.

“I’m just shocked that it took this long to get here.”

The Huskies hadn’t lost in 865 days.

It’s the end of an unbelievable run for UConn (36-1), and the curtains came down in a way befitting a streak of such huge proportions.

Miss State will play South Carolina, a winner against Stanford in the other semifinal, for the title on Monday.

Report: Villanova and UConn set to renew series

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Another former Big East Rivalry will be renewed soon.

Villanova and Connecticut are set to resume a home-and-home series next year, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Rothstein.

The Huskies will host the first game of the series with the return game coming in 2018, though exact dates and venues have not yet been set.

Since the Big East split in recent years, the two teams have met once, in the 2014 NCAA tournament when the Huskies went on to win a national championship.

UConn played Syracuse earlier this year while the Orange also took on St. John’s and Georgetown in a rematch of former Big East rivals now spread across the realignment landscape.

While the new iteration of the Big East is as strong as its best since the basketball schools bolted – with the Wildcats the defending champions and Creighton and Xavier both having big years – it’s encouraging to see that the classic matchups  of the old Big East aren’t being completely abandoned in this new era of hoops, not only for nostalgia purposes but because they remain some of the best brands and programs in the sport.

CBT Roundtable: College Basketball’s Biggest Disappointments

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Travis Hines: Given the expectations weren’t all that high for the Huskies, consider this one hell of an achievement to find them here. They’ve been that bad while Markelle Fultz has been amazing. You have to start with Fultz’s brilliance to fully understand Washington’s ineptitude. The potential No. 1 draft pick is averaging 22.8 points on 49.7 percent shooting from the floor and 48.7 percent from the 3-point line while also putting up 6.9 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Throw in the 2.1 steals and 1.2 blocks, and he’s literally on pace to post numbers that have never been posted in college basketball. As a freshman. That’s just absurd. What else is absurd is that Washington has a guy of Fultz’s caliber performing up to the hype and still somehow sits 4-5 with losses to Yale, TCU (twice), Nevada and Gonzaga, which came in especially embarrassing fashion in a 27-point drubbing on national television.

The “how’ of Washington’s struggles clearly land on the defensive end of the floor, where one coach remarked to our Rob Dauster that “They were so ******* bad on defense. It was like they had never been coached. They had no plan.” So, that’s not good, I don’t think. The Huskies’ season is disappointing on a number of levels, first being it appears that we won’t be watching Fultz in the NCAA tournament, which is a bummer. The second is Lorenzo Romar didn’t need to surround Fultz with McDonald’s All-Americans to have a successful season. Capable dudes (given a defensive plan) would have been enough. And Washington wasn’t able to do that. How disappointing.

Rob Dauster: UConn has been an absolute mess this season. They lost to Wagner and Northeastern at home in their first two games. They barely escaped Loyola Marymount with a win. They went 1-2 in the Maui Invitational, with the one win coming in a closer-than-it-should’ve-been win over Chaminade. If that wasn’t enough, UConn has also been devastated by injury, with two starters – McDonald’s all-american point guard Alterique Gilbert and Terry Larrier, who was their best player at the start of the year – going down with season-ending injuries. This was a team that entered the season with a legitimate case to be considered a top 25 team and is, in all likelihood, going to end the year with a win over a potentially NIT-bound Syracuse team in Madison Square Garden being the highlight of their year.

This is how bad things have gotten for UConn: When I was at the game at MSG, a UConn fan told me that he would consider this season a success “if UConn shows up as a bad loss when they show Syracuse’s NCAA tournament résumé.” For a team that has won two of the last six national titles, that’s quite a fall from grace.

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Terrence Payne: Outside of the major six conferences, the Atlantic 10 is up there as one of the best. The A10 looked like it was on its way to another banner year when the preseason poll included both Rhode Island and Dayton. Currently, both teams find themselves outside the top-25, but more importantly, the conference as a whole finds itself with an underwhelming non-conference résumé. The A-10 is slightly above the American Athletic Conference for seventh place in the Conference RPI rankings, while KenPom rates the A10 as the eighth toughest league.

Rhode Island landed an early-season victory over No. 24 Cincinnati on a neutral floor, but the Rams have lost three out of four, all on the road, to Valparaiso, Providence and Houston. Dayton has been plagued by injuries to Kendall Pollard and transfer Josh Cunningham, which contributed to a 2-2 start. The Flyers have won five straight since, but Dayton could enter conference player with its best out of league win being against Northwestern or New Mexico, neither team pegged to land an at-large bid at this point. And it’s not just the team’s that began the season ranked. VCU, another A-10 power, hasn’t looked up to par, dropping back-to-back games against Illinois and Georgia Tech.

With a few weeks before conference play begins, the A-10 is lacking signature wins. Three years after receiving six bids, an all-time high for the conference, the A-10 is on pace to have, at best, half that amount this upcoming March.

Scott Phillips: It’s tough to call a young, injury-riddled team disappointing, but if Tom Izzo can angrily sit at the end of his own bench in the middle of games then we’re allowed to have such feelings. This Spartans team is 7-4 with single-digit home wins over Florida Gulf Coast, Oral Roberts and Tennessee Tech. Michigan State’s rebounding and free-throw shooting woes have cast serious concerns about their ability to win games early in the Big Ten without Miles Bridges. Of course, I expect Michigan State to make the NCAA tournament – and figure things out quickly – but they better do that before conference play begins.