JOE D’S NOTEBOOK March 26th
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26: Just listened to Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie with Mike Francesa on our sister station WFAN. Admit it Husky Nation, isn’t it great to have the men still alive and kicking on March 26th. And Friday night, the heat gets turned up like never before with the Sweet 16 game against Iowa State at Madison Square Garden.
Saturday’s win against Villanova was another testament to the brilliance that is Shabazz Napier this season. His 21 point second half was the stuff that college basketball legends are made of. He took the game over and willed UConn into the Garden. But he didn’t do it alone. Hardly.
We may look back at this game as the coming out party for Terrence Samuel. When Napier went to the bench with 12 minutes to go in the first half with two fouls, it was a chance for the Huskies to shine. And they did, particularly Samuel who has earned the confidence and trust of his head coach. Samuel ran the point, played great ‘D’ and made clutch free throws. It nice in the biggest game of your career to have the best game of your career and Samuel did that. He stayed within himself and didn’t try to be Shabazz.
Ryan Boatright continued his outstanding post season play. The Boat Show doesn’t have to be flashy to be effective, and he was. Solid point guard play , improved three point shooting and terrific man to man defense, that is what Boatright brought to Buffalo. Neils Giffey continued to be the glue man, DeAndre Daniels kept scoring the ball and Lasan Kromah returned to his steady ways of earlier in the season. When the GW grad plays like that, UConn is that much better a team.
Tomorrow, after the practices and press conferences, I’ll look deeper at the matchup with Iowa State.
A couple of other notes. What a great gesture by the UConn coaches last night in the final minute of the win over St.Joes. They took a time out so Cathy Griffin could take out her seniors to a well deserved hand from the Hawks faithful. Classy…very classy.
Congrat to Stef Dolson and Bria Hartley on the completion of their sensational home careers. Two better representatives of the State University you could never find.
And it’s National Athletic Training Month. These men and women are unsung heroes in the world of athletics. Their tireless efforts are often done away from the playing surface at very early or very late hours and without any publicity. At UConn, I’m lucky to be friends with a great group of people like James Doran, Bob Howard, Rosemary Ragle and Janelle Francisco. They should be honored for the work they do.