Friday, March 13, 2009

Talking through heartbreak

Obviously, I'm talking about the UConn game last night against Syracuse. Despite the pain of getting knocked out of the Big East tournament, and possibly losing a #1 seed in the NCAA's, I have to admit it was a great game.

It also got me thinking. I've been a UConn fan since I was a little kid, back to the Cliff Robinson days. My interest in UConn basketball is only exceeded by my allegiance to the Yankees. So, what are the best games I've seen as a UConn fan (in no particular order)?

1) UConn 71 - Clemson 70 (NCAA Sweet 16, 1990): This was the Tate George game. In case you haven't seen Scott Burrell's full court heave, and Tate George's turnaround jumper, then look it up on YouTube. The 1990 season was an incredible one for UConn fans, when the team put itself on the national map, and this game was the highlight of the season.

2) Duke 79 - UConn 78 (NCAA Elite 8, 1990): Yes, UConn lost. Yes, it was on a last-second shot by Christian Laettner. But, this was really the moment when UConn arrived. For a regional power to stand up to such a national powerhouse, and come a few seconds from winning, proved to everyone in the state that Jim Calhoun was building a fantastic program.

3) UConn 75 - Georgetown 74 (Big East Final, 1996): Everyone remembers this as the Ray Allen - Allen Iverson battle. Georgetown had a 10+ point lead with less than five minutes left, but the Huskies scored the last 12 points. The cherry on top was Ray Allen's one-handed leaner to win it.

4) 1999 National Championship: Both national titles were great, but this one was the best. Duke was stacked, with Trajan Langdon, William Avery and Elton Brand. But UConn kept it close in the first half, thanks in part to Ricky Moore's big first half. After years of whispers that Calhoun's teams couldn't get past the Elite 8, this was the team that did it, and most likely propelled Calhoun to the Hall of Fame. I'll never forget it.

This probably read way too much like an ESPN column, but after last night's game, I needed to write a fluff piece.

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