Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Lot of Wins for the Jims

When (if?) UConn and Syracuse square off tomorrow night, Jim Calhoun and Jim Boeheim will set a record for the most combined wins between two head coaches with 1,687. The prior mark of 1,665 was set in 2006 by Bob Knight and Eddie Sutton. Last season, Calhoun and Mike Krzyzewski totaled 1,647 in a game at Madison Square Garden.

A little more on tomorrow night's scheduled game:

Syracuse will look to avoid its first five-game losing streak in Boeheim’s 35 years at the helm. The 17th-ranked Orange, undefeated and ranked third in the nation just two short weeks ago, aren’t as fluid offensively and seem a bit slow in their traditional 2-3 zone, according to Calhoun. They’ve fallen to 18-4 overall and 5-4 in the Big East on this recent skid, which includes a baffling 22-point home loss to lowly Seton Hall.

But Calhoun also realizes that the Huskies will be facing a desperate team this evening – always a tough draw in the Big East.

“In this league, it always seems that desperate teams, especially ones as talented as Syracuse, come up with great efforts,” he noted.

*** The Huskies (17-3, 5-3) are also limping into the game a bit, on the heels of Saturday’s frustrating, double-overtime home loss to Louisville.

“It’s two teams coming off a loss, desperate for a win,” junior guard Kemba Walker pointed out. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an intense game.”

Walker is hoping to break out of a shooting slump that’s seen him hit just 32 percent (24-for-74) of his shots over the past four games. Finding holes in the Orange zone – particularly around the free throw line extended – could be one way to get his shooting touch back.

“I’ve just got to get to my comfort zone, my mid-range shot, just get back to that,” Walker said. “That’ll give me a little better rhythm for my (3-point shot). I’ve got to use screens better, I just can’t force up shots.”

Walker is 3-for-20 from 3-point land in his last three games.

*** Calhoun knows that Walker can snap out of his slump at any time. Similarly, he knows Syracuse can do the same.

“I think Syracuse is still one of the best teams in this league,” he said. “It’s possible for anybody to get on a role – and anybody, unfortunately, to get on a slide.”

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