A rapid reaction to UConn's big night.
Six hours of anything will take a lot out of you, and so it was with UConn sports tonight. So, if you'll excuse my brevity, here are some quick takes on all of the UConn action.
The Good: UConn basketball. Holy hell was that an amazing game. It's hard to be anything but ecstatic after the Huskies upset No. 14 Michigan St. The offense was crisp, the perimeter defense was stellar and the team played a smart in-control game. Shabazz Napier lead the way, especially after Ryan Boatright twisted his ankle early in the second half. Boatright had a good game in his own right, although the ankle clearly slowed him down. I was probably most impressed by Tyler Olander, who had a rough night shooting, but held his own in the paint, hustled and showed a nice new dimension to his game with some really nice passes to set up his teammates.
The team got off to a white-hot start, but I was equally impressed by their resilence as Michigan St. fought back. The Spartans took the lead a handful of times late in the game, but UConn never let them keep it. UConn showed it could grind out a win against high-quality competition, which will serve them well.
The Bad: UConn soccer. The Huskies fell to Notre Dame in the Big East Tournament semifinals 1-0. It was a frustrating game to watch as the Huskies had numerous chances to even up the score but repeatedly failed to convert. The loss probably guarantees that UConn won't receive a Top 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, which would have guaranteed them home games through the quarterfinals.
The Ugly: UConn football. Because of the basketball and soccer games I didn't get a chance to see most of UConn's first half, which by all accounts was their best of the year, as they jumped out to a 24-0 lead over a Pitt team that clearly did not want to be there. What I did see was the horrendous second half, where UConn let that same Pitt team claw back to a 24-17 deficit, and if not for a crucial third down conversion courtesy of Chandler Whitmer the Huskies easily could have found themselves in overtime.
I'd like to highlight just two plays here. First, up 14 and with five minutes on the clock UConn advanced to Pitt's 17-yard-line. Any idiot playing Madden would know what to do here: run the ball to bleed clock, because in your worst case scenario you run off two minutes and kick a chip-shot field goal to go up three scores. George DeLeone is apparently not as smart as any idiot playing Madden, as he had Chandler Whitmer throw a pass that was picked, leading to an 80-yard Pitt scoring drive.
Second, with under two minutes on the clock and Pitt out of timeouts UConn was three kneel downs away from a guaranteed win. So what'd UConn do? Not kneel obviously. The Huskies ran Lyle McCombs into the line twice, risking a fumble or an injury WHEN ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS KNEEL THE BALL. They wound up kneeling on third down, so the Huskies do know it's possible to do that, and I would love to hear the coaching staff's reasoning for this "decision."
To recap: the coaches are idiots and UConn almost blew a 24-0 lead to a team that had no interest in playing the game in the first place. Paul Pasqualoni needs to be fired.