I don’t know how I missed this story. I only heard about from my brother-in-law so Googled it to see what’s up. I can’t believe what I found. After UConn’s opening game of the season, against mighty Quinnipiac University, Jim Calhoun ranted to the press about how Quinnipiac had the gall to use a zone defense. Evidently Quinnipiac used that zone to some success, nearly knocking off the Huskies before losing 53-46.
Of course it’s extremely odd and distasteful for a coach to bitch about another coach merely for using a common tactic (zone defense? No way!), but the part that really caught my eye was that Calhoun basically said that he was under the impression that Quinnipiac would not be playing a zone.
Wait a minute! How did Calhoun know what Quinnipiac had planned?
Think about the situation. Connecticut playing Quinnipiac amounts to little more than an exhibition game. Quinnipiac has no real hope of winning, they are just there to get some experience and collect a paycheck. UConn’s goal is to dispatch their foes early and work on various aspects of their offense and defense. It’s a chance to get ready for the “real” games later in the year. That’s fine. All teams do it. You need some cupcakes in the schedule. But the games do count. They are official. So why is it that Calhoun somehow “knew” that Quinnipiac was going to be playing exclusively man-to-man and why would he get so upset if things didn’t work out that way? Surely there was no agreement before the game, right? There couldn’t have been, because that would be a serious problem. That’s the kind of thing that brings the feds in, just like players shaving points or throwing games.
Now, if you read Calhoun’s quote, he doesn’t say there was an agreement:
He said he wasn’t going to change anything … all he did was go 1-3-1, 2-3 matchup and so on. That’s fine, gamesmanship is great. But I just thought it was a (expletive) thing to do to be honest with you. You don’t do that. That’s the only thing that irritated me a little bit. He made a big deal to tell all you guys that he was going to play the way he plays.
He makes it sound like there was some pregame press conference where Quinnipiac coach Joe DiSantis said he was going to play man. But do they really have pregame press conferences up there? And Calhoun regularly watches them looking for tips on how to play his opponent. When that opponent is Quinnipiac?
I don’t know, maybe I’m reading into something that’s not there, but it just sounds very fishy to me. I wonder if DiSantis also coaches any hot recruits that Calhoun is looking at?