Sunday, November 13, 2016

No excuses, but Wagner was a bad matchup for UConn

There is absolutely, positively no excuse for UConn to lose to Wagner. Not at home. Not at Gampel. Not in the Huskies' season-opener. Not with a team full of high school McDonald's All-Americans and other top-rated recruits.

Except ...

Well, Wagner is a veteran team, with its top two scorers and eight of its key players returning from a squad that won the Northeast Conference (yeah, I know, not exactly a high-major league) last year and beat St. Bonaventure in an NIT game. Wagner also plays a methodical, control-the-tempo type of style.

In other words, the Seahawks were exactly the kind of team a young (albeit) talented UConn team would not want to face in its season-opener. The Huskies could hardly put a combination out on the floor on Friday night that had ever played together in an actual game.

Remember when Jim Calhoun refused to play Holy Cross nine years ago, instead making a last-minute switch to Buffalo, and even promising Buffalo a game at their place the following season (which the Huskies accommodated)? It was because Calhoun didn't want his team, which was coming off one of its worst seasons in a long while, to go up against a slow-it-down, veteran team like the Crusaders.

We'll repeat: there is no excuse for UConn to lose to Wagner on Friday night. But the Huskies couldn't have picked a worse mid-major matchup to open up their season against.

On the bright side for the Huskies: they received some letters-of-intent recently.


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