Inconsistency: The Proud Sponsor of Connecticut Basketball
The story of the Connecticut men's basketball season can be described by one word: Inconsistency.
After losing A.J. Price, Hasheem Thabeet, and Jeff Adrien from a Final Four team, the Huskies knew it would be tough to rebound, but they never thought it would be this challenging.
Even with the loss of the Huskies' three best players, many people still believed that UConn had enough returning and incoming talent to win the Big East Conference.
The return of flashy Stanley "Sportscenter" Robinson, the defensive mentality of Jerome Dyson, and the do-it-all point guard ability of Kemba Walker were supposed to help cover the wounds, but none of these players could do enough to get UConn off the roller coaster ride that was their season.
The Huskies started this ride off with four consecutive wins to start the season. One of these was an impressive, at the time, 81-55 beatdown of LSU at Madison Square Garden in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
In the finals they faced their first "real" opponent in the Duke Blue Devils.
The sharp shooting of Duke guard Jon Scheyer was too much for UConn as the Dukies cruised to a 68-59 victory, giving Connecticut their first loss in the young season.
The Huskies followed the loss by winning the next two against "cupcakes" Boston U and Harvard.
The following week Connecticut matched another top team at Madison Square Garden. This time it was Kentucky.
UConn lead throughout much of the game, but the late game heroics of freshman phenom John Wall were too much for the Huskies to handle, and the Wildcats handed the Huskies their second loss of the season.
After the tough loss to Big Blue, Connecticut finished out non-conference play on a roll by blowing out Central Florida, Iona, and Maine.
UConn started Big East play with a disappointing 71-69 loss at Cincinnati, but this only was the start of the disappointment for Husky fans.
Following the loss, UConn put together two conference home wins over Notre Dame and Seton Hall, not the sexiest of wins, but maybe enough to get the Huskies on a roll.
But maybe not.
After the two wins at home, UConn went on the road to face Georgetown and Pitt.
Against the Hoyas, the Huskies were hurt again by their inability to keep a lead, blowing a 17 point halftime lead to lose 72-69.
The next game at Pitt was another tough loss for the Huskies. It was a barn burner throughout, but Pitt put the game away with free-throws in the final minute.
Following the difficult road losses, UConn traveled to Ann Arbor to play Michigan, hoping that a big non-conference win could give the Huskies some momentum going back into conference play.
The Huskies came out flat and never could recover from a nine point halftime deficit, losing to the Wolverines 68-63, stretching the losing streak to three.
Two days after the loss to Michigan, Jim Calhoun shocked everyone by announcing he would take a leave of absence due to a "serious" health issue that he had to discuss with his family.
The night after the announcement of Calhoun's leave, UConn hosted and beat St. John's in a game that the players said was for Coach Calhoun.
After the emotional win for coach, Connecticut would somehow have to find a way to get their emotions in check for a game against No. 1 Texas.
In another inspired effort for Coach Calhoun, the Huskies used a dominant second half to hand the No.1 Longhorns their second loss of the season.
Surely this huge home win against the No. 1 team in the country would change the fortune of the Huskies. "Not so fast, my friend."
Connecticut once again demonstrated their inconsistency by again dropping three straight conference games against Providence, Marquette, and Louisville, losing all the momentum they had from the big win over Texas.
The Huskies ended their losing streak against bottom dweller Depaul, but the woes would continue.
Surprisingly the "huge" win against Depaul did not give UConn enough confidence to win at No. 3 Syracuse or at home to Cincinnati.
After losing eight of their last 10 conference games, there was no way the Huskies could rebound at No. 3 Villanova right? Wrong.
Led by 29 from Kemba Walker, the Huskies put together one of their most complete games of the year in a 84-75 shocker of the Wildcats.
The Huskies followed the upset of Villanova by somehow putting together two more wins at Rutgers and against West Virginia.
With two of the three wins coming against top 10 teams (West Virginia and Villanova), it looked like with a strong finish that the Huskies would spend March dancing.
But the roller coaster ride was not over yet.
The Huskies entered their final three games knowing that if they could somehow salvage two out of three games, they would earn a spot in the Dance.
Not only did UConn not win two out of three, they lost all three.
Entering the Big East Tournament, Jim Calhoun knew that his squad had to make a big run to be considered in the Field of 64, starting off with St. John's on Tuesday.
Many people believed that this UConn team could be the kind of team that pulls a Syracuse and runs the table in the Big East Tournament.
But the Huskies came out of the tunnel looking like they had nothing to play for, showing lack of hustle and just flat out looking, well, flat.
The Red Storm played as if they were the ones playing for a trip to the NCAA Tournament instead of UConn, building a 10 point lead at the half.
It was too much to overcome as the Huskies folded in the second half, losing 73-51 to end their Big East Tournament and any hopes of going Dancing.
Even though the mediocre season was "rewarded" with a trip to the NIT, this will definitely be a season Husky fans would like to forget.
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