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ON CAMPUS A look at the area college sports scene

Monday, August 25, 2008

Quinnipiac, UConn Men Won't Meet This Year

For the first time since the 1999-2000 season, UConn and Quinnipiac will not meet in men's basketball this winter. The Huskies have gone 9-0 against the Bobcats since they began playing in 1998, winning by an average margin of 28 points.

Two years ago, Quinnipiac gave UConn all it could handle, with the Huskies eventually escaping with a 53-46 win. But last December, in former longtime UConn assistant coach Tom Moore's first season as the Bobcats' head coach, the Huskies delivered an 82-49 romp.

And with two of Quinnipiac's top players from a year ago – leading scorer DeMario Anderson and center Karl Anderson – graduated, Moore saw no need to put his team through a similar scenario this season.

"I think it was twofold," Moore noted. "Coach Calhoun and I were both real uncomfortable, on a personal level, playing the game last year. It was awkward for me emotionally, and for him, too. And I didn't feel our program is quite established enough to start taking on programs of that caliber. We have too much youth and inexperience for it to benefit us this year. It could be re-visited in the future, but we both felt best to take a year off."

Said Calhoun: "He wants to play (the following) year. We've been pretty flexible with them. He had a really good player last year, and this year it's predominately a freshman, sophomore team. I think he'll look forward to playing us the following year."

UConn is putting the finishing touches on its non-conference schedule. This much is known: there's the Paradise Jam festival Nov. 21-24 in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where UConn will face La Salle University in the first round. Other participants in the tourney will be Southern Mississippi, Miami, San Diego, Valparaiso, Iona and Wisconsin.

The Huskies will also face Gonzaga on Dec. 20 at Seattle's Key Arena. A week later, UConn will play "a local team" on either Dec. 27 or 28, according to Calhoun. Obviously, it's not Quinnipiac, and it doesn't appear to be Hartford, either.

Finally, the Huskies will host Michigan some time after New Year's.

As for Quinnipiac, it will compete in a tourney hosted by Columbia University in Manhattan Nov. 20-22. UMBC, Bryant and Columbia will be the other competitors. Moore said the Bobcats nearly got into the ECAC Holiday Festival with St. John's, Virginia Tech and the like, but it didn't pan out.

"We have no real sexy (non-conference) games," Moore admitted. "We'll get a little more ambition in a year or two."

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