2008–09 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team

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2008–09 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball
Conference Big East Conference (1979–2013)
Ranking
Coaches #3
AP #5
2008–09 record 31–5 (15–3 Big East)
Head coach Jim Calhoun
Assistant coach George Blaney
Assistant coach Andre LaFleur
Assistant coach Patrick Sellers
Home arena Harry A. Gampel Pavilion
Seasons
« 2007–08 2009–10 »
2008–09 Big East men's basketball standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   PCT     W   L   PCT
#1 Louisville 16 2   .889     31 6   .838
#4 Pittsburgh 15 3   .833     31 5   .861
#5 Connecticut 15 3   .833     31 5   .861
#11 Villanova 13 5   .722     30 8   .789
#23 Marquette 12 6   .667     25 10   .714
#13 Syracuse 11 7   .611     28 10   .737
West Virginia 10 8   .556     23 12   .657
Providence 10 8   .556     19 14   .576
Notre Dame 8 10   .444     21 15   .583
Cincinnati 8 10   .444     18 14   .563
Seton Hall 7 11   .389     17 15   .531
Georgetown 7 11   .389     16 15   .516
St. John's 6 12   .333     16 18   .471
South Florida 4 14   .222     9 22   .290
Rutgers 2 16   .111     11 21   .344
DePaul 0 18   .000     9 24   .273
2009 Big East Tournament winner
As of April 4, 2009[1]; Rankings from AP Poll

The 2008–2009 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team represented the University of Connecticut in the 2008–2009 NCAA Division I basketball season. Coached by Jim Calhoun, the Huskies played their home games at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and on campus at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Connecticut.

The Huskies finished the regular season with an overall record of 27–3, including a Big East Conference record of 15–3. The team finished the regular season tied for second place in the Big East standings (a tiebreaker gave them the No. 3 seed in the Big East tournament). In the NCAA tournament, the Huskies received a No. 1 seed in the West Region and advanced to their 3rd Final Four. In the Final Four they would lose to Michigan State 82–73.

Roster[edit]

Listed are the student athletes who are members of the 2008–2009 team.[2]

# Name Position Year
4 Jeff Adrien Forward Sr
24 Craig Austrie Guard Sr
55 Kyle Bailey Guard So
2 Donnell Beverly Guard So
10 Johnnie Bird Guard Sr
11 Jerome Dyson Guard Jr
33 Gavin Edwards Forward/Center Jr
30 Scottie Haralson Guard Fr
13 Alex Hornat Forward Jr
45 John Linder Forward Sr
32 Jonathan Mandeldove Center Jr
35 Charles Okwandu Center So
12 A.J. Price Guard Sr
21 Stanley Robinson Forward So
34 Hasheem Thabeet Center Jr
40 Jim Veronick Forward Sr
15 Kemba Walker Guard Fr

Listed are recruits for the upcoming season.

Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight Commit date
Scottie Haralson
SG
Jackson, MS Provine HS 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Jan 25, 2008 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 40
Nate Miles
SG
Patterson, NC The Patterson School 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Nov 20, 2006 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 88
Kemba Walker
PG
New York, NY Rice HS 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 172 lb (78 kg) Jun 9, 2007 
Scout:5/5 stars   Rivals:5/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 96
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 7   Rivals: 8
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height and weight.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.

Sources:

Schedule[edit]

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance Record
Regular season
November 14, 2008* Western Carolina #2 Harry A. Gampel PavilionStorrs, CT W 81–55  9,820 1–0
November 17, 2008* Hartford #2 XL CenterHartford, CT W 99–56  11,849 2–0
November 21, 2008* vs. La Salle #2 University of the Virgin IslandsUS Virgin Islands
(US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam)
W 89–81  3,095 3–0
November 23, 2008* vs. #16 Miami #2 University of the Virgin Islands • US Virgin Islands
(US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam)
W 76–63  3,271 4–0
November 24, 2008* vs. #19 Wisconsin #2 University of the Virgin Islands • US Virgin Islands
(US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam)
W 76–57  3,691 5–0
November 29, 2008* Bryant #2 XL Center • Hartford, CT W 88–58  12,558 6–0
December 1, 2008* Delaware State #2 Harry A. Gampel Pavilion • Storrs, CT W 79–49  9,734 7–0
December 4, 2008* at Buffalo #2 Alumni ArenaBuffalo, NY W 68–64  4,899 8–0
December 15, 2008* Stony Brook #2 XL Center • Hartford, CT W 91–57  12,721 9–0
December 20, 2008* at #7 Gonzaga #2 KeyArenaSeattle, WA
(Battle in Seattle)
W 88–83  16,763 10–0
December 26, 2008* Fairfield #2 XL Center • Hartford, CT W 75–55  13,771 11–0
December 29, 2008 #8 Georgetown #2 XL Center • Hartford, CT L 63–74  16,294 11–1 (0–1)
January 3, 2009 Rutgers #2 Harry A. Gampel Pavilion • Storrs, CT W 80–49  10,167 12–1 (1–1)
January 6, 2009 at #22 West Virginia #5 WVU ColiseumMorgantown, WV W 61–55  13,920 13–1 (2–1)
January 10, 2009 at Cincinnati #5 Fifth Third ArenaCincinnati, OH W 81–72  9,029 14–1 (3–1)
January 15, 2009 at St. John's #4 Madison Square GardenNew York, NY W 67–55  7,545 15–1 (4–1)
January 18, 2009 Seton Hall #4 XL Center • Hartford, CT W 76–61  15,572 16–1 (5–1)
January 21, 2009 #21 Villanova #3 XL Center • Hartford, CT W 89–83  15,385 17–1 (6–1)
January 24, 2009 at #19 Notre Dame #3 Edmund P. Joyce CenterSouth Bend, IN W 69–61  11,418 18–1 (7–1)
January 28, 2009 at DePaul #2 Allstate ArenaChicago, IL W 71–49  9,502 19–1 (8–1)
January 31, 2009 Providence #2 Harry A. Gampel Pavilion • Storrs, CT W 94–61  10,167 20–1 (9–1)
February 2, 2009 #7 Louisville #1 Freedom HallLouisville, KY W 68–51  20,069 21–1 (10–1)
February 7, 2009* Michigan #1 Harry A. Gampel Pavilion • Storrs, CT W 69–61  10,167 22–1
February 11, 2009 #22 Syracuse #1 Harry A. Gampel Pavilion • Storrs, CT W 63–49  10,167 23–1 (11–1)
February 14, 2009 at Seton Hall #1 Prudential CenterNewark, NJ W 62–54  9,800 24–1 (12–1)
February 16, 2009 #4 Pittsburgh #1 XL Center • Hartford, CT L 68–76  16,294 24–2 (12–2)
February 21, 2009 South Florida #1 XL Center • Hartford, CT W 64–50  15,451 25–2 (13–2)
February 25, 2009 #10 Marquette #2 Bradley CenterMilwaukee, WI W 93–82  19,091 26–2 (14–2)
2009/28/09 Notre Dame #2 Harry A. Gampel Pavilion • Storrs, CT W 72–65  10,167 27–2 (15–2)
March 7, 2009 at #4 Pittsburgh #1 Petersen Events CenterPittsburgh, PA L 60–70  12,908 27–3 (15–3)
Big East Tournament
2009-3/12 #20 Syracuse #4 Madison Square Garden • New York, NY
(Quarterfinal)
L 117–127 6OT 19,375 27–4
2009 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
March 19, 2009 vs. (16) Chattanooga #6 (1) Wachovia Center • Philadelphia, PA
(First Round)
W 103–47  N/A 28–4
March 21, 2009 vs. (9) Texas A&M #6 (1) Wachovia Center • Philadelphia, PA
(Second Round)
W 92–66  19,894 29–4
March 26, 2009 vs. #18 (5) Purdue #6 (1) University of Phoenix StadiumGlendale, AZ
(Sweet Sixteen)
W 72–60  20,101 30–4
March 28, 2009 vs. #9 (3) Missouri #6 (1) University of Phoenix Stadium • Glendale, AZ
(Elite Eight)
W 82–75  18,886 31–4
April 4, 2009 vs. #7 (2) Michigan State #6 (1) Ford FieldDetroit, MI
(Final Four)
L 73–82  72,456 31–5
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll.

Regular season[edit]

The Huskies' season began with the team ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll.[3] behind the University of North Carolina. Off to a quick start, UConn opened with a string of eleven straight victories over non-conference opponents, including a sweep of the Paradise Jam Tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands. During this stretch, the Huskies faced three teams that were ranked in the Top 25, including No. 8 Gonzaga in an overtime thriller in Seattle.[4]

The first Big East Conference game of the season came at home against Georgetown, which the Huskies lost 74–63. This was the start of a 19-game stretch where 18 of the games were against conference opponents, and where their opponents were ranked in nine of the games. After this first loss, the Huskies went on to win 13 straight, staying comfortably atop the Big East Conference standings. Among these was a 68–51 victory at No. 7 Louisville— the eventual outright Big East Champions.

The Huskies reached No. 1 in the rankings on February 2, 2009, and held it for three weeks. During this span junior guard Jerome Dyson, one of the team's biggest scoring threats and its best guard defender, injured his knee. He would not be able to play for the rest of the season. The team spent the final few weeks of the regular season adjusting to their smaller rotation. A 76–68 loss at home to No. 4 Pittsburgh knocked them from the top spot. They would win their next three games, including at No. 8 Marquette, which was Coach Jim Calhoun's 800th career victory in Division I basketball.[5] After one week at No. 2, UConn was again No. 1 in the polls, until a loss at No. 3 Pittsburgh to finish the regular season once again bumped the Huskies from the top.

The Huskies finished the regular season with 27 wins and 3 losses, with a conference record of 15–3. The team was not ranked out of the top 5 in the AP Poll at any point in the season.

Post-season[edit]

In the Quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament, UConn took on Syracuse. The game would prove to be a historic event, as it took a Big East record six overtimes before Syracuse ultimately triumphed, 127–117. The contest is tied as the second longest in NCAA Division I history.

The Huskies earned the No. 1 seed in the West Regional of the NCAA Tournament. They began play in Philadelphia, PA, where they had two blowout victories against Chattanooga and Texas A&M. They moved on to Glendale, AZ for the West regionals, first defeating Purdue 72–60, then outlasting a pressing Missouri squad in the Elite Eight, 82–75.

The following weekend the Huskies were in Detroit, MI for a Final Four matchup against the Midwest's No. 2 seed, Michigan State. The game was close throughout, until the Spartans began to take control near the ten-minute mark of the second half. UConn would make one last run and cut the deficit to three late in the game, but Michigan State made key free throws and held on to win, 82–73. UConn's final record was 31 wins and 5 losses.

Postseason awards[edit]

Second Team All-America:
Hasheem Thabeet, Center, Jr.

National Defensive Player of the Year
Hasheem Thabeet

Big East Co-Players of the Year:
Hasheem Thabeet with DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh, Center, So.

Big East Defensive Player of the Year:
Hasheem Thabeet

All-Big East First Team:
Hasheem Thabeet

All-Big East Second Team:
A.J. Price, Guard, Sr.

All-Big East Third Team:
Jeff Adrien, Forward, Sr.

Big East All-Rookie Team:
Kemba Walker, Guard, Fr.

Team players drafted into the NBA[edit]

Round Pick Player NBA Club
1 2 Hasheem Thabeet Memphis Grizzlies
2 52 A.J. Price Indiana Pacers

[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Big East Conference Standings - 2008-09." ESPN.com. Retrieved 03-23-10.
  2. ^ UCONN Men's Basketball – University of Connecticut Official Athletic Site
  3. ^ College Basketball – Rankings – Rivals.com
  4. ^ No. 2 UConn rallies past No. 8 Zags in OT
  5. ^ Calhoun wins No. 800 as UConn beats Marquette
  6. ^ http://www.nba.com/draft2009/