UConn Basketball

with Kevin Duffy

UConn in Preseason Tournaments

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Given the program’s recent history, there’s reason to believe UConn’s performance at the 2012 Paradise Jam can be indicative of things to come.

Here’s how UConn has fared in tournaments that require coaches to wear Hawaiian shirts:

*2011 Battle 4 Atlantis: UConn blew a 17-point lead on Central Florida and stumbled to a 68-63 loss, the first headscratcher of the season (and there would be plenty more). The Huskies responded in the consolation game, however, as Ryan Boatright knocked down three free throws to force overtime in a 78-76 victory over Florida State.

Hasheem Thabeet (AP)

*2010 Maui Invitational: An unranked team suddenly leaped into the top five following wins over Wichita State, Michigan State and Kentucky. Kemba Walker and Alex Oriakhi were exceptional throughout the three-game tournament, and though the team hit some rough patches in the regular season, the 2010-11 campaign ended with the most unlikely of national championships.

*2008 Paradise Jam: LaSalle, Miami and Wisconsin all went down hard as Hasheem Thabeet, the tournament’s most outstanding player, led UConn to the title. Jerome Dyson (21 points) was the top scorer in the championship game, a 19-point blowout over Wisconsin. Dyson’s season-ending knee injury in late February changed the dynamic of the team, but UConn still made  a Final Four run. If Dyson had stayed healthy, who knows if this team could have delivered Calhoun’s third title?

*2005 Maui Invitational: With Marcus Williams suspended, freshman Craig Austrie assumed point guard duties and UConn knocked off Arkansas, Arizona and Gonzaga to claim the tournament championship. Denham Brown’s turnaround jumper with 1.1 seconds remaining gave the Huskies a 65-63 win over the Zags in the title game. This team, with Williams, was probably the most talented in the country. On one afternoon, though, George Mason was slightly better.

*2000 Maui Invitational: Ranked No. 12 in the nation, UConn dominated, 80-66, by heavy underdog Dayton in the Maui first round. Although the Huskies won their next two games — Division II host school Chaminade and Louisville were the opponents — the early exit exposed the Huskies, who failed struggled through the Big East schedule and failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

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