Saturday, March 26, 2011

Calhoun's comments after advancing to 2011 Final Four

ASAP Sports Transcripts - Basketball - 2011 - NCAA MEN'S REGIONALS SEMIFINALS & FINALS: ANAHEIM - March 26 - Jim Calhoun - Jeremy Lamb - Alex Oriakhi - Kemba Walker:

Calhoun and his Huskies. (Image via NESN)

... this unique group of young guys have just given me a thrill beyond compare, Emeka Okafor is in our locker room right now and his team was a powerful, older team and experience and had rolled through, we had one tough game against Duke, but won a national championship and that was special and the first one was obviously very special.
But this is -- our march in the past nine games I haven't experienced anything like this ...
I still can't quite wrap my mind around this team.

Partly it's because I just couldn't watch them as much as I'd have liked this season, so I don't know them as well as past teams. I think the other part of it is, apart from Kemba and Lamb, they don't seem offensively gifted, nor do they have what you'd call a menacing defense (no Okafor back there just waiting to swat the shot away), yet I suspect it is their defense -- the timely steals, the blocks you didn't see coming, and just toughness -- that gives them the edge.

Kemba is a legitimate star and Wooden Award contender, so it's probably not fair to call them 'sneaky good,' but I can't be alone among long-time fans who just did not see this coming, even after their amazing run through the Big East tournament. The fact that only four people in the CT-based pool I'm in picked the Huskies to win confirms this. Even though I didn't pick them to win it all, it sure looks like they've got as good a chance as any of the remaining teams. I've never cheered harder against myself in a pool; I'm in (a three way tie for) first place going into tomorrow's games, but hoping to finish out of the money.
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