UConn Has Right to Feel Disrespected

In case you didn't hear, the No. 1 team in college basketball won again Thursday night, taking on a ranked conference rival, putting together a tremendous second-half performance, and walking off the floor having won by 14 points.

And no, I'm not talking about North Carolina beating Duke.

The No. 1 UConn Huskies whipped Syracuse, 63-49, but there's a fair chance you haven't heard anything about it. ESPN is all Duke-Carolina this morning, and so are most of the major sports sites. And that's a shame, because Connecticut is a team everyone should be watching.

UConn center Hasheem Thabeet showed once again Wednesday that he's an absolute monster in the middle, scoring eight points, grabbing 16 rebounds and adding seven blocks. UConn coach Jim Calhoun said after the game that it's Thabeet's defensive presence that makes UConn so good:

"We're not the best offensive team in the league but we're a pretty good defensive team with Hasheem in the middle," Calhoun said. "He affected 20 penetrations in the lane. Don't get caught up in stats with him, even as good as they are, because he is one of the most amazing forces in basketball in America."

But Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who called Thabeet a "tremendous defensive player," went even further in his praise:

"I've said it before and I still believe he's the best we've had in this league. We're an inside team and takes that away from you."

Think about that for a second. Jim Boeheim has been the head coach at Syracuse for as long as the Big East has existed. He's seen (just to name a few) Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Charles Smith and coached Derrick Coleman and Carmelo Anthony, and he calls Thabeet "the best we've had in this league."

Thabeet is a dominant player, and UConn is the top-ranked team in the league, and yet everyone is talking about Wednesday's other game. I haven't heard the Huskies play the "disrespect" card yet, but I wouldn't blame them if they did.

UConn Has Right to Feel Disrespected originally appeared on NCAA Basketball FanHouse on Thu, 12 Feb 2009 09:36:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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