Jim Calhoun: 'I Don't Think, in a Year, We're Going to be (in the Big East)'
It’s not the six-overtime game or the Gerry McNamara virtuoso performance. The Huskies, after all, lost those two games.
“It’s not like I walked into my hotel room at 4 a.m. and said, ‘Boy, what a great day,’” Calhoun said, referring to the six-OT classic in the 2009 Big East tournament.
Rather, it was a 51-50 win at the Carrier Dome that sticks out the most in Calhoun’s mind.
“Cliff Robinson had a one-and-one with no time left to win the game,” Calhoun recalled. “Cliff wasn’t the most clutch guy. He was more of a second guy, but he had to be a (clutch leader) on that team.”
Robinson swished the two freebies and UConn had the win in what wound up being its NIT championship season.
The Huskies and Orange have met 90 other times, 69 of them as members of the Big East. The 70th – and final – was Wednesday night at the XL Center.
“There isn’t any question in my mind they’ve been our No. 1 rival in the Big East,” said Calhoun. “I don’t remember a game played with them that wasn’t meaningful.”
Syracuse owned a 54-36 all-time advantage in the rivalry heading into Wednesday’s game. The Orange were 37-32 in Big East play.
Calhoun and longtime Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim had a long chat prior to the game. The two have been good friends, if heated rivals, for years.
“He’s not my best friend, but I have incredible respect for him,” Calhoun said.
Calhoun would like to see UConn continue to play Syracuse in years to come, though it appears the Orange, who move to the ACC, won’t be facing the Huskies next season. It’s possible, however, that the two programs could be league rivals again in the not-too-distant future.
“I don’t think, in a year, we’re going to be where we are right now,” said Calhoun, referring to the Big East. “I think a lot depends on Maryland and its lawsuit.”
The only thing that’s certain is that UConn and Syracuse will never again face each other as members of the Big East after Wednesday night.