Calhoun's Scheduling Trick Has UConn In NYC

By Josh Herwitt - November 08, 2007

Good ole' Jim Calhoun. Yep, that savvy UConn coach.

That is, savvy enough to realize that having Holy Cross in the first two rounds of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic would have been a mistake.

After all, he wouldn't want to embarrass himself against a school from the Patriot League, right?

So when the Gazelle Group first called Calhoun and presented him with the four-team field that would make up the Storrs Regional, he quickly dismissed Holy Cross as one of the potential teams scheduled to play at the Huskies' Harry A. Gampel Pavilion.

That's because with the way Ralph Willard has been earning NCAA Tournament bids four of the last six years, Calhoun knew that having Holy Cross in his own bracket would be an easy way for the Crusaders to gain national pub if they happened to upset a storied program like UConn.

Instead, the Huskies are headed to Madison Square Garden next Thursday for the tournament semifinals after crushing Buffalo, 82-57, in the second round tonight.

UConn trailed early in the first half before pushing out to a sizable 43-30 lead at halftime and continued to pour it on after that.

A.J. Price was the spark plug for Calhoun's club, as the junior guard dropped in a career-high 24 points, while UConn dominated on the defensive end, blocking 15 shots and holding Buffalo to just 33 percent shooting.

"They took away probably 12 points, where we got right to the basket and they blocked it," Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon said.

Stanley Robinson was another UConn player to break out against the Bulls, dominating at both ends of the floor to finish with 10 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks.

"When Stanley plays like that, with that kind of intensity, we're a different basketball team," Calhoun said afterward.

A day after tallying 12 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Morgan State, Jeff Adrien had another solid game for the Huskies, recording 11 points and eight rebounds.

Meanwhile, out in the Norman Regional, it was Denver escaping with a 76-75 victory over Division II school East Central Oklahoma.

East Central, after all, wasn't even supposed to be playing the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic until the Gazelle Group contacted head coach Terry Shannon after UC Davis bowed out of the tournament in order to play in one of the other Gazelle Group tournaments this year.

And you know Denver coach Joe Scott, who served the past three seasons as Princeton's head coach, was certainly reliving memories of losing to Carnegie Mellon, a DIII school, in a non-conference game back on Dec. 29, 2005.

Even so, the Pioneers might not be around for long with a game against host Oklahoma tomorrow night for a chance to play with the big boys at Madison Square Garden.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 11:29 PM on November 08, 2007

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