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The UConn Fast Break - 2/24/2023

An exciting night at the student-only hockey game and a resurgence brewing for men’s hoops, while Geno’s squad has hit a wall.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

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The home stretch for men’s basketball

March Madness is on the horizon. The Atlantic Sun starts conference tournament season on Monday and UConn men’s basketball has just three games remaining before the Big East Tournament starts on March 8 in Madison Square Garden.

After a dominant, 18-point victory over No. 20 Providence on Wednesday, the Huskies “visit” St. John’s on Saturday, host DePaul in XL on Wednesday, and close out the regular season on the road against Villanova on Saturday, March 4.

UConn has now won six of its last eight games since faltering against Seton Hall in New Jersey on Jan. 18 and according to the Bracket Matrix, is the top 5-seed in the field as of Thursday. With a trio of winnable games coming up before the conference tournament, Dan Hurley’s squad has a chance to potentially play in Albany for the NCAA Tournament’s first and second rounds.

While UConn is the highest-ranked KenPom team in the league, Marquette will more than likely head to New York with a top-10-ish ranking and a 17-3 Big East record, Creighton is currently ranked No. 12 and has only lost twice since Jan. 11, Xavier swept the Huskies in the regular season and has one of the best offenses in the country, and even though UConn just beat down the Friars, Providence will be hungry for revenge in what could be a quarterfinal rematch.

It’s a tough league. But UConn’s a tough team. As mentioned in The Fast Break Podcast, the Huskies’ chances are about as good as anyone’s this year.

Weekly Rewind

Men’s Basketball

Friars finished - A dominant second half highlighted an outstanding offensive performance in an 87-69 victory. | Photos

Pirates walk the plank - A solid win for the Huskies, who took care of business while throwing down dunk after dunk.

Revenge tour on the way? - As the regular season ends and postseason begins, the Huskies want to make up for the losses tey suffered early in Big East play.

Huskies up to No. 18 - Dan Hurley’s team continues moving back up.

The Fast Break Pod - The podcast crew feels pretty good about the Huskies heading into the final stretch.

Women’s Basketball

UConn upset by… St. John’s? - The Huskies lost to the Red Storm for the first time in over a decade. | Photos

No. 14 Villanova outlasted - A gritty performance on the road on Saturday.

UConn WBB Weekly - The offense has been struggling as of late and if the Huskies want to go deep into March, that will need to change.

Chasing Perfection - Is it time to be worried?

“Entitled” performance sinks Huskies ($) - It was not good for UConn on Tuesday.

How UConn stopped Maddy Ziegrist ($) - One of the best scorers in the country was mostly held in check on Saturday.

Men’s Hockey

OT winner downs Alaska Anchorage - The Huskies needed extra time but got the win in a game where only students were allowed in attendance. | Photos

2024 CT Ice to be at XL Center - It’s UConn’s turn to host the tournament for state supremacy and it will do so in downtown Hartford.

The Forecheck - Women’s hockey will begin the postseason this weekend against Boston College.

Offensive problems continue ($) - Even though they scored four goals on Thursday, the Huskies have left some to be desired with their offense.

Bracketology ($) - UConn is the fifth team out after having the weekend off, with just three regular-season games left.

UConn Hockey Hub Podcast ($) - Looking back at the New Hampshire debacle and forward to the end of the regular season.


Split with Ohio State - Friday was a low-scoring affair, but the final three games were slugfests.

What can UConn learn? - Jim Penders’ team struck out far too often and the bullpen struggled.


Hudson Schandor scored a ree-diculous goal to secure a much-needed win over Alaska Anchorage.

You’ll wanna see this for the absurdity of the goal and the uproarious crowd reaction.

Memory Lane

The last time UConn and Providence men’s basketball faced off inside Gampel Pavilion was March 9, 2013. It was the final day of the final regular season for the old Big East and the last time the Huskies would suit up for the year, as they were banned from the postseason due to NCAA penalties.

Despite a first-year head coach in Kevin Ollie and a team that knew it only had 30 games to play with no shot at March glory, the boys from Storrs entered the game 19-10 and 9-8 in Big East play with a chance to spoil their local rival’s NCAA Tournament hopes once and for all.

It was a total rock fight, finishing regulation at 55-all, and both teams shot slightly more than 35 percent from the field, which was fitting for the end of the old Big East. In the end, it was Ryan Boatright’s and-1, three of his 23 points on the afternoon, in the final seconds of overtime that delivered the Huskies to a dramatic victory inside a sold-out Gampel Pavilion.

UConn, Great Pic

A week in the life of Ian Bethune: two basketball games and a hockey game, with some fantastic shots from each.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Parting Thoughts

UConn whipped out two new brand-new game promotions this week.

On Wednesday night, in partnership with Miller Lite, beers were $2 at Gampel Pavilion, sparking a rowdy environment for the big game and getting everyone from Dan Hurley and Ed Cooley to Alex Karaban to weigh in.

Who wouldn’t love to see that promo again? Maybe at The Rent? Or at least another hoops game?

On Thursday night, the men’s hockey team’s matchup with Alaska Anchorage was open only to students, who could claim free tickets. The process opened on Feb. 13 at 9:30 a.m. and by Feb. 16 at 11:30 a.m., all 2,600 tickets were claimed for the third-ever men’s hockey game at Toscano Family Ice Forum.

When all home games were in Hartford, it was always a deterrent for students to check out a team with little history, despite the promise and fun of the #IceBus that we all know and love. For older alumni, hockey wasn’t a big deal when they were students. For students whose parents are UConn fans and indoctrinated them, they didn’t hear about moments like “The Shot” or a “Dream Season.”

It was incredibly rare to see more than two yellow school buses worth of students attending the Hartford games. The student body didn’t have much of a hockey-fan culture.

The new on-campus rink is definitely a large step in changing that. Hockey is one of the most exciting sports to witness live and getting a whole bunch of students to fill the place will make plenty of them fans for life.

We’ve seen how raucous and rowdy it can get for basketball (especially when discounted beer, or a team we love to hate, is involved). Hockey can reach a similar level if the athletic department makes the effort to build fandom. This was a smart idea that should pay off in the long run.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

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