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Q&A On The Huskies With The UConn Blog (Yes That's Actually The Name Of The Blog)


We had some burning questions that we knew only a Husky fan could answer, so we got in touch with SB Nation's The UConn Blog, admittedly a far more imaginative blog name than WRNL. Since we're not selfish lovers, we answered some questions for them as well.

So uh, did your students break Cy's arm or not?

I wasn't there but I've been assured it was 90 percent gravity.

How do you feel about your team's performance this year?

Disappointed, but not so much in the team as in the fan base's ability to let expectations spiral out of control and the twists of fate that sapped any momentum from the season.

Last year was magical, but a lot of that was because Kemba Walker was a magical player (more on him later). UConn has more talent on paper this year, but the team it has more talent than lost 9 Big East games last year. Furthermore, Jim Calhoun missed over a month of coaching over two different periods, and freshman Ryan Boatright, an essential part of UConn's backcourt, missed 11 games over two different periods because of NCAA issues (the second of his absences, a three-game period in January, was an absolute joke). With that much upheaval it's not really a surprise the team never gelled. The Huskies are playing better of late, and in theory they could still find a way to fit all their pieces together, but it seems unlikely.

How has the 2013 postseason ban impacted the way the Huskies want to finish this season? Do you wish that your AD would have taken the ban this year?

I don't know how much of an effect it's had, especially since all of these guys have already won an NCAA tournament. To the extent it'll alter the team's mindset, I think it'll have a much big impact postseason when guys are deciding if they should transfer or go pro. Additionally, UConn fans are still holding out hope they'll be eligible for next year's tournament. Under the current rules you need a two-year rolling APR score of 930. Using the numbers from the 2011 and 2012 seasons, UConn hits that mark. The problem is that for the 2013 tournament the NCAA is using the 2010 and 2011 numbers, but they're looking into a rule change that would use the most recent stats.

It would appear from a casual observer's glance that a team with Shabazz Napier and two lottery picks in Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb would win a lot more than 20 games. How much does the team miss Kemba Walker?

I don't even know if its fair to ask how much the team misses Kemba Walker because he put together one of the best college seasons of all time and was so remarkable that no one in the country, no matter how talented, could replace him. Walker more or less lashed together a group of freshman and sophomores, put them on his back and carried them to a national title. He was irreplaceable.

Does Jim Calhoun really make that big of a difference on the sidelines? What was your record with and without him?

UConn went 15-7 with Calhoun and 5-6 without him. They would not have won all six games if he was there, but I think they would have one at least a couple -- certainly enough to avoid the 8/9 game. Not only is he a better tactician than George Blaney (a long time UConn assistant who was filled in in Calhoun's absence), but he's a great motivator, he knows how to work the refs and some of the players -- Shabazz Napier in particular -- just respond better when he's there.

What do you see as UConn's strengths and weaknesses against ISU?

UConn always struggles defending the perimeter. They always have and as long as Jim Calhoun coaches the team they always will, so if ISU's shooters are on it could be a very long day for the Huskies. On the flip side, UConn has more size, speed and athleticism than it knows what to do with. If the Huskies are able to harness that natural talent, especially inside, it'll make a difference.

How do you feel about Big East basketball going forward with WVU leaving for the Big 12 and Pitt and Syracuse off to the ACC?

Well, for starters it's going to be a hell of a lot better than Big East football. Obviously it's a disappointment, and UConn hasn't exactly made a secret out of its desire to follow Pitt and Syracuse to the ACC. There are still good teams in the Big East -- Georgetown and Villanova in particular -- but it'll never be what it was.

What the hell is with the middle "c" in Connecticut?

The sixth-grade version of me that got a "B" on my state name spelling test would like to know as well.

Iowa produces more hogs than any other state in the nation, Connecticut produced Kevin Bacon - coincidence or NCAA seeding committee conspiracy?

[unamused silence]