By MIKE ANTHONY
The Hartford Courant
Has there been a more tumultuous season in UConn history? Has there ever been a soap opera like the 2009-10 season?
Coming off an appearance in the Final Four the year before, the Huskies endured one of the more puzzling and trying seasons in the Jim Calhoun era. Having finished 18-16 after a loss to Virginia Tech in the second round of the NIT, the team finished with the most losses since Calhoun's first season in Storrs.
Given that the Huskies had three seniors -- Stanley Robinson, Jerome Dyson and Gavin Edwards -- and an emerging star at point guard in Kemba Walker, expectations were high despite the losses of Hasheem Thabeet, Jeff Adrien, A.J. Price and Craig Austrie.
But UConn proved to be as inconsistent as it could be dynamic, a disjointed group that played to exceptional highs (victories over Texas, Villanova and West Virginia) and dispiriting lows (losses to Cincinnati, South Florida and St. John's).
Throughout it all, the cloud of an ongoing NCAA investigation lingered. In his 38th year as a head coach at the Division I level, Calhoun missed more games than he ever has. He took a seven-game leave in the middle of the season for an undisclosed medical condition.
In his absence, the Huskies defeated St. John's and top-ranked Texas, but then lost three in a row. UConn was 3-4 under George Blaney and 14-10 when Calhoun returned to the sideline Feb. 13 against Cincinnati at the XL Center. The Huskies' 60-48 loss to the Bearcats might have been the ugliest of the season.
And then, go figure, the Huskies won three in a row, including victories over No. 3 Villanova and No. 8 West Virginia, to move back into NCAA Tournament consideration. But a Senior Day loss to Louisville was the start of a four-game losing streak that culminated in an ugly loss to St. John's in the first round of the Big East tournament.
The Huskies scratched out a victory over Northeastern in the first round of the NIT and actually played well -- with passion, anyway -- in the loss to Virginia Tech. Calhoun was proud of the final image of his team, but he is clearly glad to have that season behind him. Blame the coaches. Blame the players. The 2009-10 Huskies, for all their talent, were not a good basketball team.
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