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College Basketball

UConn Fans Cope With Losing Streak In Various Ways

10:50 AM EST on January 16, 2023

HARTFORD, CT - JANUARY 15: UConn Huskies guard Jordan Hawkins (24) reacts as UConn Huskies guard Hassan Diarra (5), UConn Huskies guard Nahiem Alleyne (4) and UConn Huskies guard Apostolos Roumoglou (33) look on during the college basketball game between St John's Red Storm and UConn Huskies on January 15, 2023, at the XL Center in Hartford, CT.
M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UConn was cruising along this year. The Huskies won their first 14 games, including some big ones: An 82-67 win over Alabama, a 71-53 win over Iowa State where UConn allowed just eight points over the final 10 minutes. When they beat Villanova 74-66 on Dec. 28, they were 14-0, and 3-0 in the Big East.

Adama Sanogo is the main reason why so far. Despite being a high-usage player, the 6-foot-9 junior is shooting 60 percent on the season—and 39 percent from three. He’s only averaging 17.4 points a game because UConn goes incredibly deep on the bench under coach and 2011 Irish America Top 100 honoree Dan Hurley (co-nominated with brother Bobby, now coach at Arizona State). They look set for the future, too: Donovan Clingan, a 7-foot-2 freshman center, has already dominated games.

So the Huskies are good. The program has risen from the dead: Fans have won the hearts of Hartford, packing the same arena where WWE’s The Undertaker debuted in 1990. But the last four games for UConn have been more like another 1990 Survivor Series debut—the Gobbledy Gooker. The Huskies are on a losing streak.

Sunday's 85-74 loss to St. John’s was UConn’s fourth in five games. They’ve had some embarrassing moments. In their first loss, Hurley got a late technical foul that helped Xavier stretch its lead. Hurley said he simply yelled “Unbelievable!” after a foul call. (“Yes, I wish I wouldn't have said ‘Unbelievable.’ But, put yourself in my shoes, when you factor in all those things,” he said postgame. Xavier shot 19 more free throws than UConn that game.) The Huskies led by 11 at Marquette and lost. UConn was dominated in the second half in a loss at Providence. “Just really embarrassed by the way we handled ourselves in the second half,” Hurley said. Unbelievable!

The Johnnies shot 58 percent in their win over the Huskies, with six players in double figures. (Yonkers native Joel Soriano led St. John’s with 19.) The Red Storm’s bench outscored UConn’s, 26-10. They controlled the second half, going on a 14-2 run just after the nine-minute mark. A four-point lead was suddenly a 16-point one, and UConn fans who’d packed the building formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center headed for the exits. Fox helpfully provided some crowd shots.

There’s a lot to love here, most notably the multiple UConn fans with their hands on their chins, looking like they’d rather be anywhere else. But there was one fan in attendance who caught my attention. I thought he was filming a little video for social media at first, but I think this man in the Hartford Whalers had was just happy to be dancing.

He even did the Batuzi!

Another thing I like about this clip is that Jim Spanarkel and Dave Sims reference Ed McMahon, who young people may only know if they visit the Mandela Effect subreddit. McMahon would indeed say “How good was it?” to Johnny Carson, who retired in 1992. Saturday Night Live used it as a joke … in 1983. Eh, the Big East was big then, too. I suppose it’s fine. Certainly it’s better than referencing the Gobbledy Gooker.

While searching for Ed McMahon, I found one of those scammy SEO sites that said his net worth was negative-two million dollars when he died. The page, which had a photo of Sonic voice actor Ben Schwartz at the top, went on to say:

At one point, Donald Trump stepped forward and said that he would keep the house from going into foreclosure so that the McMahons could live out the rest of their lives in peace. In the end, he did not step in and help the McMahons in any way. In the end, a different family friend helped the McMahons stay in their home by renting it back to them for a small amount each month.

This isn’t quite right. Let’s go back to 2008, back when an Ed McMahon reference might still be considered possibly maybe current. McMahon did say he was facing eviction, then Trump said he’d buy the house and let McMahon stay there. A mystery buyer stepped in instead, but that fell through. Michael Cohen then went to the press and said Trump would help out anyway. It didn’t happen, but the bank struck a deal with McMahon that let him stay. McMahon died in 2009.

Anyway. Heeeeeeeere’s Johnnies! The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson was on a winter break for Feb. 29, 1988, the last time St. John’s beat UConn up in Hartford.

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