UConn: Can They Win It All?

Yahya SyedCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2009

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 12:   Jerome Dyson #11 of the University of Connecticut drives to the hoop against the Georgetown Hoyas at the Verizon Center on January 12, 2008 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

In a recent report from Yahoo Sports, the University of Connecticut was accused of violating NCAA rules regarding the recruitment of Nate Miles of Toledo, Ohio. 

Josh Nochimson, a former UConn student manager now turned sports agent, was cited for providing lodging, meals, transportation and representation, all of which were against NCAA rules, as Nochimson represented interest similar to UConn. 

Jim Calhoun, a Hall of Fame basketball coach, was alleged of making 16 calls to the prospect, also against NCAA rules.

If these allegations turn out to be correct, both UConn and the individuals involved could be punished severely. 

Now, the question remains: How does this all play into UConn's chances of winning it all in the NCAA tournament?

The team hasn't won it all since 2004, and with three contenders remaining in UNC, Villanova and Michigan State, the pressure is immense. 

With most of the top players on the team—including Jeff Adrien, A.J. Price and Hasheem Thabeet—most likely going to the NBA next season, this could be one of their last chances for a long time. 

Few could argue that an accusation like the one Yahoo Sports made couldn't have been released at a worse time.

When you think about it, the news doesn't really make all that much of a difference.  Although some argue that UConn now has slim chances of winning it all, I would beg to differ. 

All of the allegations deal with the staff and the university, not the players—the ones who have to go out and win the games. 

Miles was expelled in the fall of this year—after violating a restraining order—without ever actually playing a game this season. 

This team has been through a lot. 

After a roller coaster of a season, in which several teams held the AP No. 1 ranking for all but a few weeks, UConn kept the No. 1 ranking for four weeks. They lost to Syracuse in an astonishing six overtimes in the Big East tournament, and played it's opening tourney game without Calhoun.

The truth is, when those players get on the court, the only thing that matters to them is winning the game, not whether or not the team they play for broke NCAA recruitment rules. 

The UConn basketball team wants to win the NCAA tournament more than anything right now. Their entire lives have been dedicated to this game, and they have spent their whole college careers preparing for this moment. 

After all the things they have dealt with this season, they won't let some petty news get in the way of their dreams of winning it all at Ford Field in Detroit come April.