Jim Calhoun sounds a lot like Rick Pitino except, ironically, Calhoun comes off as the calm one, the voice of reason. Last week, Pitino called the Huskies' interest in the ACC "dumb" based on what the university had accomplished in the Big East.
On Monday, speaking at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce breakfast, spoke about UConn's athletic future.
"We are going to play in a conference, but we're going to be in a place that's best for us," he said, according to the Hartford Courant. "We've worked too hard to get where we are, we've worked too hard to let anyone stop us." Of course, Calhoun was asked specifically about Pitino's comments and he said, "The coach who said that has been talking to every conference in America."
Calhoun later said he was joking, but either way, point taken. Whatever happens, the takeaway is that, despite the recent Big East pow wow in DC over the weekend, UConn is looking out for its best interests first. President Susan Herbst is tasked with relaying that message as diplomatically as possible.
"As long as we are in the Big East, we'll work to strengthen it," she said, via the Courant. "We've got to find some new institutions … schools that are a match for us. [Commissioner John Marinatto] has some good ideas for us."
And while Herbst didn't say it, she was probably thinking "And if Marinatto doesn't, well, we're leaving."
For now, the Big East is still intact and the Huskies are defending national champs. Which is why Calhoun's interests don't go beyond November, when the season begins.
"Hey, line 'em up, we'll play 'em," he said. "… If we play in the Big East, I don't think anyone would be angry with that. Rick [Pitino] was thinking of Louisville's interests and we have to do what's in our best interests, as, by the way, Syracuse and Pitt did."
And let's be honest: there's little chance Calhoun will be coaching when and if UConn does leave the Big East.