Friday, December 09, 2005
Was this the end of the line for the U game, which features UCONN and UMASS? According to Jim Calhoun, yes this was the last of the games. He had stated that if his Huskies had lost this game tonight, then he would continue the series. But with tonight's win over the Minutemen, the U Game by MassMutual will no longer happen. Rumor is UCONN will be looking to set up games with its neighbors to the East, the Rhode Island Rams.
An annual series since 1996, thought up before Marcus Camby and Ray Allen bolted for the pros, this series has caught its fair share of criticism. Where to play the games? Does each team get a home game? Well what happened initially was each school played host on campus and then in the third year the game was to be played at the Hartford Civic Center. A fair enough proposal in my book. Each team gets a home game and the Civic Center all though home to the Huskies was made a neutral site game. This presented a lot of issues. The UCONN people, the money hungry ones, saw this as an opportunity to make money, and jacked up the prices of the tickets. If I recall correctly, tickets to the U Game were $75 one year. 75 dollars to see a college basketball game. At that time, 75 dollars would get you two games for a family of 4 to the CBA team when it was in Hartford. Also, the UGame was not offered to season ticket holders as part of their packages. They were also expected to pay full price for the tickets on top of their regular season tickets and their donation to the school. Now for those of you who know about the prices of season tickets here at UCONN, you will know you basically give up your first born to get tickets. The more money you give, the better seats that you get. The more sports you have season tickets to , the better the seats you get. For the school its all about the benjamins. For us the fans, its all about seeing our beloved Huskies play, whether it be men's or women's.
We have been truly blessed with great college basketball here in the state of Connecticut. Since the arrival of Coach Geno and Coach Calhoun, they have put UCONN basketball on the map. How many professional sports teams do we have here? I am not talking minor league sports; I am talking about the major sports. The correct answer to that question is zero. To most fans, the UCONN Huskies men's and women's teams are our professional sports team. People live and die for Huskies Basketball. Most places that don't serve spirits are usually dead on the nights the two teams play...I am sure tonight the bars were hopping because the two games overlapped each other. A rare occurrence yes, but nonetheless it still happens once in a while.
Anyways as I ramble on here, I for one am glad that this series is over. What good does it do for us? Other than having to pay an arm and a leg for tickets. When the thought of this series was conceived, it was conceived with the notion of UMASS being a premier team and acting as a test for the Huskies. But Marcus Camby left school early for the pros, Ray Allen left UCONN early(of course there's always someone new just as good if not better who comes in) and for a while the games weren't all that exciting. Since Camby left the Minutemen, the UMASS program has been on the down slope.. I think the Calhoun playing the Rams of Rhode Island for a few years is a good thing. It's not like UCONN is a regional team anymore. They are a national team now. Seen by many, loved by most. Calhoun likes to play local teams because it helps them with their recruiting. This also explains why we have a lot of cupcake games against in-state teams. Calhoun was once in their shoes though and he knows what it takes to build a winner. So he pays back the local schools with games against the Huskies. All in all a fair proposition to the schools and to the fans. Schools can say "Hey, we are playing UCONN this year. Why don't you become a member of our program and help us take down Goliath." Fans can say "Hey did you see Rudy's windmill jam tonight." or "Why the Bleep are we playing these guys again." A true fan knows the meaning of these games. The greedy fan just wants to see his Huskies win.
Well I guess we all want the Huskies to win here in Connecticut since they are our professional sports team. Who needs the Kraft in CT when we got Geno and Jim.