HARTFORD – Checking in from XL Center, where UConn and Syracuse will get together in a few minutes.
Jim Calhoun arrived early, and chatted with his old friend/foe Jim Boeheim before UConn and Syracuse played for the last time as Big East rivals.
“People make decisions in 10 minutes [to end] a rivalry that’s lasted 30-some years,” Calhoun said, as he stopped to talk about 6 p.m. “… I don’t remember a game with Syracuse that wasn’t meaningful.”
Calhoun’s list of UConn-Syracuse games has a special spot for Jan. 16, 1988, when Cliff Robinson hit a one-and-one with no time left on the clock to beat Syracuse at the Dome, 51-50. UConn came from 10 points down to upset the Orange, and went on to win the NIT two months later. “That game got us over the hump,” Calhoun said. “It meant the most for us.”
(That one is my favorite, too. It’s the game that kind started it all. I remember Dee Rowe on the telecast back to Connecticut.)
The six OT game at The Garden? “Oh, it was a classic,” Calhoun said. “But it was a loss. I didn’t go back to my hotel at 4 a.m. and say ‘what a great day.’”
Calhoun and Boeheim have become good friends over the years. “We’re like heavyweight fights who beat the [heck] out of each other, then hug at the end – and mean it,” Calhoun said. “I have tremendous respect for him.”
Calhoun repeated a familiar theme of his, though, in recent weeks. He was disappointed there wasn’t more buzz in the city on Wednesday. “We need to get the buzz back for games like this,” he said.
The news from Enosch Wolf, who was arraigned in Rockville on Wednesday, is on our main site, click here. Since his next court appearance is scheduled for March 30, the UConn season ends March 9 and he is suspended until the legal process is completed, it would appear there is no chance he will be reinstated this season.
Same lineup for UConn: Tyler Olander, DeAndre Daniels, Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, Omar Calhoun. Big East Refs: Gene Steratore, Ed Corbett, Brian O’Connell.
Phil Nolan will have to play a lot off the bench. UConn coaches believe he will bring some energy, but worry about him getting nervous if things go wrong.