Posts Tagged ‘UConn Huskies’

Fiesta Bowl Picks: UConn Huskies vs. Oklahoma Sooners Analysis

December 31st, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on Fiesta Bowl Picks: UConn Huskies vs. Oklahoma Sooners Analysis

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Upon completion of the Rose Bowl, the eyes of the college football betting world will head to Glendale, where the Connecticut Huskies will play their first BCS bowl game in school history against the Oklahoma Sooners. There are three tremendous keys to this game that we must remember in order to beat the Fiesta Bowl odds on New Year’s night.

Key #1: Connecticut has to act like it has been here before
We know that the Huskies have never played in a game of any sort of magnitude like this, but they have to believe that they can beat the most difficult team on their schedule this year. Last year, the Cincinnati Bearcats won the Big East and got a huge reality check when they were absolutely crippled by the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. We also remember when the Pittsburgh Panthers, the only team in the history of the BCS that wasn’t unranked in one of these tremendous games, getting blasted by the Utah Utes. Being in this game for the first time, Head Coach Randy Edsall has his work cut out for him against one of the proudest programs in the history of college football. The Sooners have to ratchet up the pressure in a hurry to be able to take the fight out of these Huskies as well… which leads us to…

Fiesta Bowl Odds at BetUS Sportsbook
UConn Huskies +16.5
Oklahoma Sooners -16.5
Over/Under 54.5
Click Here to Bet on Your Fiesta Bowl Picks!

Key #2: Connecticut absolutely cannot fall behind in this game
If you’re the Huskies, you want the ball first, and you want to set a tempo in this game. The only way UConn is hanging in there is if it gets something established in the ground game and keeps this contest as short as possible. The clock has to keep running, and the offense has to keep the Sooners off of the field. The main reason for this is to keep RB Jordan Todman rolling. Todman knows that he is going to have to be called upon at least 25 times in this game to have absolutely any chance of helping his team pull off the upset. He has already carried the ball 302 times this year and was one of the best backs in the country at 1,574 yards and 14 scores. More importantly though, Edsall knows that he doesn’t have a quarterback that is good enough to compete against a big time Big XII foe. QB Zach Frazer has only completed 52.7 percent of his passes for 1,202 yards and five TDs on the campaign. None of the quarterback options are solid. QB Cody Endres was dismissed from the team, while QB Michael Box started once this year and proved that he couldn’t get the job done. The ball just has to keep on the ground, but if the Huskies are two scores down, that really isn’t going to be an option.

Key #3: The Sooners need to exorcize the demons from Fiesta Bowls past
This is the biggest thing for Head Coach Bob Stoops to worry about in his locker room. The Sooners have to have nightmares about playing here in Glendale, as this is where the Boise State Broncos and West Virginia Mountaineers both pulled off tremendous upsets. The Broncos simply caught Oklahoma by surprise in a year in which Stoops’ men were disappointed that that they weren’t playing for the BCS Championship. West Virginia used the motivation of the “whole world is against us” in the first game in the post Rich Rodriguez era. Oklahoma knows that it is the superior team in this game and that it should be able to just use its willpower to take care of the Huskies. However, this was also the case a few times before. If the Sooners can get past this and treat this like an entirely different game against another inferior team, they should be fine.

Calhoun Should Cut Losses at Connecticut

March 10th, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Calhoun Should Cut Losses at Connecticut
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Nineteen turnovers, 37.5% shooting from the field, and a bitter 22-point loss to a 13th place team in the Big East later, and the 2009-2010 Connecticut Huskies effectively watched their season come to an abrupt end on Tuesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

This UConn team is going to be one that is remembered for all of the wrong reasons. For starters, this was a squad that was in the Final Four a year ago. Who could forget when a young, promising G Kemba Walker dropped 23 points on the Missouri Tigers in the Elite 8 or when F Stanley Robinson ate up Purdue for ten points and 11 boards in the Sweet 16? The only major piece to this puzzle from last year’s team that didn’t come back was C Hasheem Thabeet.

Sure, Thabeet was the #2 pick in the NBA Draft that next season, and if he was still on this UConn team, the story could be completely different. But let’s be real here. This is Connecticut. Finishing 17-15 isn’t acceptable.

While watching television on Tuesday night, ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb mentioned that HC Jim Calhoun may not even want to take this bunch of Huskies to the NIT, assuming that they are invited.

Originally, I thought this was crazy. But upon further thought… why would Calhoun want to play with this bunch of kids anymore?

F Jerome Dyson had a miserable game against St. John’s on Tuesday. He turned the ball over nine times and shot just 2/6 from the floor before getting benched for lack of production. I might not be some college basketball guru, but even I can tell that he pretty much gave up on this team.

The aforementioned Kemba Walker shot 4/17 from the floor and was taking some ill-advised shots. I’ll give him this: Walker was fighting the whole way through, which is why Calhoun let him keep playing. But this was a case of a youngster without much experience ultimately trying to put the whole team on his back instead of playing team basketball to try to erase a huge deficit.

Calhoun’s health issues are well-documented. It felt like his leave of absence really took any potential momentum away from this team. Even when he came back from his hiatus, a miserable 60-48 loss to Cincinnati at home was called “an embarrassment” by the head coach.

Three straight wins were nice after that, but a 78-76 home loss to Louisville might’ve marked the end of the season. Losses got progressively worse. Dropping to Notre Dame without F Luke Harangody was disgraceful. Losing at South Florida was appalling. Wrapping it up with a 22-point defeat to St. John’s just has no description.

Calhoun has reportedly been offered a new contract by the university, but he is going to strongly consider whether or not he wants to take the Huskies up on it or not. After winning 822 career games and two National Championships, the sixth most winningest coach in NCAA Division I history has nothing left to prove.

It’s pretty clear that the Connecticut Huskies are still a long ways away from being able to compete in the rough and tumble Big East again. If Jim Calhoun is smart, he’ll realize that it’s time to step away and let the Huskies fend for themselves.