JOE D’S NOTEBOOK
WEDNESDAY- Time to catch up after an exciting start to the college basketball season. Two wins in two games for the Huskies and first year head coach Kevin Ollie.
There aren’t enough words to describe the trip to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for the Armed Forces Classic against Michigan State. The highlight of the trip wasn’t the win over Michigan State, which was something special. It was visiting Landstuhl Hospital and the Air Force wounded warrior on the base. It was meeting military personnel at the day of Resiliency at Hangar 1 on Friday. And then the night of the game, meeting even more men and women who put their lives on the line for our country. I had a chance to meet so many people from Connecticut, who were thrilled to have the Huskies on their turf. These people work so hard and get so little in return. It was an eye-opening experience and one that will resonate for a long long time. Our military personnel should never, ever be taken for granted. And after getting a chance to see them up close for three days, they never will be.
As for the game, so much to like for the Huskies. The electric start with leads of 20-6 and 34-18. The fact the Huskies didn’t back down after Michigan State rallied to take a pair of one point leads, scoring on the next possession both times. And the game ending run that gave UConn a memorable win. And after the game, players from both teams lingered on the court to shake hands with the 3,100 military folks on hand for the game that started at 12:09 am local time.Kudos to ESPN for staging the event. And thanks to Jim Calhoun who filled the chair of Wayne Norman who stayed behind to call the football win with Bob and Kevin. It was an honor to call the game with Jim, who did a terrific job.
Then Tuesday night, the Huskies ground down Vermont before winning 67-49. No, it wasn’t pretty. But it’s not synchronized swimming or figure skating, there are no style points. And even though it’s crazy early, it appears this UConn team has bought into Kevin Ollie’s concept of playing dogged defense.
Now the Huskies hit the road again, flying to the Virgin Islands on Thursday for the Paradise Jam. Wayne and I will talk to you from St Thomas on Friday night at 6 pm.