2008–09 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball team

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2008–09 Connecticut Huskies men's basketball
NCAA Tournament, Final Four
Conference Big East Conference (1979–2013)
Ranking
Coaches No. 3
AP No. 5
2008–09 record 31–5 (15–3 Big East)
Head coach Jim Calhoun (23rd year)
Assistant coach George Blaney
Assistant coach Andre LaFleur
Assistant coach Patrick Sellers
Home arena Harry A. Gampel Pavilion
Seasons
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 were members of the Big East Conference.

The Huskies finished the season 31–5, 15–3 in Big East play to finish in a tie for second place. They lost to Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, the Huskies received a No. 1 seed in the West Region and advanced to their third Final Four with wins over Chattanooga, Texas A&M, No. 17 Purdue, and No. 9 Missouri. In the Final Four at Ford Field, they lost to No. 8 Michigan State 73–82.

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

2008 recruiting class[edit]

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:

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.

Schedule and results[edit]

Date
Time, TV
Rank# Opponent# Result Record Site (Attendance)
City, State
Exhibition
November 5, 2008*
No. 2 American International W 83–58 
Harry A. Gampel Pavilion 
Storrs, CT
November 9, 2008*
No. 2 UMass Lowell W 82–63 
XL Center 
Hartford, CT
Regular season
November 14, 2008*
No. 2 Western Carolina W 81–55  1–0
Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (9,820)
Storrs, CT
November 17, 2008*
 WCTX
No. 2 Hartford W 99–56  2–0
XL Center (11,849)
Hartford, CT
November 21, 2008*
 WCTX
No. 2 vs. La Salle
US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam
W 89–81  3–0
University of the Virgin Islands (3,095)
US Virgin Islands
November 23, 2008*
 FCS
No. 2 vs. No. 17 Miami
US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam
W 76–63  4–0
University of the Virgin Islands (3,271)
US Virgin Islands
November 24, 2008*
 FSN
No. 2 vs. No. 25 Wisconsin
US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam
W 76–57  5–0
University of the Virgin Islands (3,691)
US Virgin Islands
November 29, 2008*
 WCTX
No. 2 Bryant W 88–58  6–0
XL Center (12,558)
Hartford, CT
December 1, 2008*
 WCTX
No. 2 Delaware State W 79–49  7–0
Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (9,734)
Storrs, CT
December 4, 2008*
 WCTX
No. 2 at Buffalo W 68–64  8–0
Alumni Arena (4,899)
Buffalo, NY
December 15, 2008*
 WCTX
No. 2 Stony Brook W 91–57  9–0
XL Center (12,721)
Hartford, CT
December 20, 2008*
 CBS
No. 2 at No. 8 Gonzaga
Battle in Seattle
W 88–83  10–0
KeyArena (16,763)
Seattle, WA
December 26, 2008*
 ESPNU
No. 2 Fairfield W 75–55  11–0
XL Center (13,771)
Hartford, CT
December 29, 2008
 ESPN
No. 2 No. 11 Georgetown
Rivalry
L 63–74  11–1 (0–1)
XL Center (16,294)
Hartford, CT
January 3, 2009
 WCTX
No. 2 Rutgers W 80–49  12–1 (1–1)
Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (10,167)
Storrs, CT
January 6, 2009
 ESPNU
No. 5 at No. 25 West Virginia W 61–55  13–1 (2–1)
WVU Coliseum (13,920)
Morgantown, WV
January 10, 2009
 WCTX
No. 5 at Cincinnati W 81–72  14–1 (3–1)
Fifth Third Arena (9,029)
Cincinnati, OH
January 15, 2009
 ESPN
No. 4 at St. John's W 67–55  15–1 (4–1)
Madison Square Garden (7,545)
New York, NY
January 18, 2009
 WCTX
No. 4 Seton Hall W 76–61  16–1 (5–1)
XL Center (15,572)
Hartford, CT
January 21, 2009
 ESPN
No. 3 No. 20 Villanova W 89–83  17–1 (6–1)
XL Center (15,385)
Hartford, CT
January 24, 2009
 ESPN
No. 3 at No. 19 Notre Dame W 69–61  18–1 (7–1)
Edmund P. Joyce Center (11,418)
South Bend, IN
January 28, 2009
 WCTX
No. 2 at DePaul W 71–49  19–1 (8–1)
Allstate Arena (9,502)
Chicago, IL
January 31, 2009
 WCTX
No. 2 Providence W 94–61  20–1 (9–1)
Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (10,167)
Storrs, CT
February 2, 2009
 ESPN
No. 1 at No. 5 Louisville W 68–51  21–1 (10–1)
Freedom Hall (20,069)
Louisville, KY
February 7, 2009*
 ESPN
No. 1 Michigan W 69–61  22–1
Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (10,167)
Storrs, CT
February 11, 2009
 ESPN
No. 1 No. 23 Syracuse
Rivalry
W 63–49  23–1 (11–1)
Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (10,167)
Storrs, CT
February 14, 2009
 WCTX
No. 1 at Seton Hall W 62–54  24–1 (12–1)
Prudential Center (9,800)
Newark, NJ
February 16, 2009
 ESPN
No. 1 No. 4 Pittsburgh L 68–76  24–2 (12–2)
XL Center (16,294)
Hartford, CT
February 21, 2009
 WCTX
No. 1 South Florida W 64–50  25–2 (13–2)
XL Center (15,451)
Hartford, CT
February 25, 2009
 ESPN
No. 2 at No. 8 Marquette W 93–82  26–2 (14–2)
Bradley Center (19,091)
Milwaukee, WI
February 28, 2009
 CBS
No. 2 Notre Dame W 72–65  27–2 (15–2)
Harry A. Gampel Pavilion (10,167)
Storrs, CT
March 7, 2009
 CBS
No. 1 at No. 3 Pittsburgh L 60–70  27–3 (15–3)
Petersen Events Center (12,908)
Pittsburgh, PA
Big East Tournament
March 12, 2009
 ESPN
(3) No. 3 (6) No. 18 Syracuse
Quarterfinal/Rivalry
L 117–127 6OT 27–4
Madison Square Garden (19,375)
New York, NY
NCAA Tournament
March 19, 2009
 CBS
(1 W) No. 5 vs. (16 W) Chattanooga
First Round
W 103–47  28–4
Wachovia Center (18,322)
Philadelphia, PA
March 21, 2009
 CBS
(1 W) No. 5 vs. (9 W) Texas A&M
Second Round
W 92–66  29–4
Wachovia Center (19,894)
Philadelphia, PA
March 26, 2009
 CBS
(1 W) No. 5 vs. (5 W) No. 17 Purdue
Sweet Sixteen
W 72–60  30–4
University of Phoenix Stadium (20,101)
Glendale, AZ
March 28, 2009
 CBS
(1 W) No. 5 vs. (3 W) No. 9 Missouri
Elite Eight
W 82–75  31–4
University of Phoenix Stadium (18,886)
Glendale, AZ
April 4, 2009
 CBS
(1 W) No. 5 vs. (2 MW) No. 8 Michigan State
Final Four
L 73–82  31–5
Ford Field (72,456)
Detroit, MI
*Non-conference game. #Rankings from AP Poll. (#) Tournament seedings in parentheses.

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/