UConn gets a 9, draws Iowa State

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UConn center Andre Drummond talks to the media on "Selection Sunday" at Gampel Pavilion. (Neill Ostrout photo)

The UConn men’s basketball team was given a 9-seed by the selection committee Sunday night and will meet Iowa State in their tournament opener Thursday in Louisville.

Should the Huskies win, they’ll likely face the event’s No. 1 overall seed Kentucky.

Some quick reactions from the Huskies:

— It’s the 18th trip to the NCAA’s for Jim Calhoun at UConn. It’s the school’s 31st trip overall.

“I know one thing. It doesn’t get old,” Calhoun said. “I’m excited.”

— Iowa State attempts 23.4 3-pointers a game and makes 8.9 of them. The latter stat is 8th in the nation, but 2nd among teams in the tournament.

“Hopefully they won’t make a backboard shot like a lot of teams have against us,” Shabazz Napier joked.

UConn has done very poorly at guarding three’s this season, as most everyone knows. UConn doesn’t take a lot of three’s either.

“I think their high might be 18 out of 37,” Calhoun said. “We don’t take 37 in two weeks. It’s a little different than the way we play.”

Maybe a little more Roscoe Smith at the four?

“We’re going to fool with some smaller-type lineups and our 4-position is going to be a tad more flexible for this game,” Calhoun said.

— If you haven’t heard or read this line from Calhoun, here it is. And get ready to keep seeing and hearing it.

UConn, as Calhoun as said often, is not the defending national champion.

“If you want to go in my office, no problem. Just go in and look at the trophy. It’s there and you’re not going to get it. It’s locked,” Calhoun said. “We’re not defending anything, nor did we ever think we were.”

All Calhoun says he wanted was an opportunity. And he’s got it.

“The most important thing was to get an opportunity,” Calhoun said. “That’s all you really need or ask for in life. We got an opportunity last year and took great advantage of it.”

— UConn has played well since Calhoun returned, it seems. Maybe riding a high?

“We’re happy but not satisfied,” center Andre Drummond said. “We’re happy we’re starting to bring it together but we’ve got more work to do.”

Can UConn made a little run?

“I think we’re capable of making a run, yeah. Anything is possible,” Jeremy Lamb said. “I’m not saying we will, I’m not saying we won’t. We’re just going to play hard and do our thing, play our game and see how far it takes us.”

— It’s UConn’s worst seed since it was also No. 9 in the 1992 tournament.

The only time UConn was seeded lower was in 1991 when it was an 11. Of course, the Huskies won two games in that event anyway, including an upset of Shaquille O’Neal and LSU.

“We earned this right, full and fair,” Calhoun said of his team’s entry.

The coach also said that he knows the Huskies didn’t get into the field by a wide margin and that the West Virginia game in the Big East tournament was “deep in my heart, a game I knew we had to win to solidify things. I didn’t want to be coming in here (Gampel) with a bad stomach.”

“I feel bad for Seton Hall,” Calhoun added. “But I didn’t think, either them or USF, I think, was going to have a tough time.”

UConn’s seeding history under Calhoun:

1990 _ No. 1 (Final 8)

1991 _ No. 11 (Sweet 16)

1992 _ No. 9 (2nd round)

1994 _ No. 2 (Sweet 16)

1995 _ No. 2 (Final 8)

1996 _ No. 1 (Sweet 16)

1998 _ No. 2 (Final 8)

1999 _ No. 1 (Champions)

2000 _ No. 5 (2nd round)

2002 _ No. 2 (Final 8)

2003 _ No. 5 (Sweet 16)

2004 _ No. 2 (Champions)

2005 _ No. 2 (2nd round)

2006 _ No. 1 (Final 8)

2008 _ No. 4 (First round)

2009 _ No. 1 (Final Four)

2011 _ No. 3 (Champions)

2012 _ No. 9

Neill

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About Neill

Neill Ostrout covers the UConn men's basketball team for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester. He has been a member of the "Horde" for more than 16 years.
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