UConn-Tulane is the most depressing of American Athletic Conference matchups

Connecticut's Kentan Facey, left, and Tulane’s Blake Paul fight for a rebound in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Connecticut’s Kentan Facey, left, and Tulane’s Blake Paul fight for a rebound in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

(WTNH)–I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s just the name—Tulane.

Say it with me: Tulane.

You know, it just sounds…pathetic.

There’s nothing more depressing about the American Athletic Conference and UConn’s membership in it than a home men’s basketball game against the Green Wave, which will unfortunately happen again on Saturday night.

Mike Dunleavy Sr. is a terrific hire for Tulane, but as of right now, it's still depressing that UConn has to play them. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Mike Dunleavy Sr. is a terrific hire for Tulane, but as of right now, it’s still depressing that UConn has to play them. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

Look Tulane, it’s not your fault. I mean, you’ve always been Tulane–and that’s fine. It’s just, UConn fans are used to seeing Pittsburgh, Villanova, Georgetown, Syracuse, Louisville, West Virginia–you know, good teams. Real teams.

Tulane (4-16, 1-7/AAC) is predictably atrocious, though they’re coached by a man with legit NBA credentials: Mike Dunleavy Sr.

The longtime former NBA coach and G.M., who guided the L.A. Lakers to the Finals in 1991, and the Portland Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals in ’99 and 2000, is scratching his latest coaching itch in New Orleans.

The 62-year-old seems enthusiastic about the program he’s building, touting what a wonderful city New Orleans is, and how beautiful the campus is. When asked where he was going to recruit, Dunleavy offered this Bill Walton-like quote: “I’m going to recruit the world.

He’ll need that enthusiasm. The Green Wave last made the NCAA Tournament in 1995, and have only made it three times in their history–1992, ’93, and ’95. Each year, they reached the second round, but have never ventured further than that.

It’s definitely within the realm of possibility that Dunleavy can get things going there, though we shouldn’t expect a Larry Brown-SMU like rebirth.

The coach says his team keeps improving, and that he’s enjoying sharing his wealth of basketball knowledge with them. That’s cool.

But especially given how depressing this season has been for UConn (9-11, 4-4/AAC), the atmosphere at Gampel on Saturday night won’t be anything close to what it used to be when the Big East was still alive. It’s just not a big game.

Even though UConn can benefit from playing (and winning) some of these games against low-RPI AAC teams, fans would rather see them bottom out in a good conference. At least that gives you some hope.

Again, none of this is Tulane’s fault. And it’s not really UConn’s, either.

It’s just, well…pathetic.

 

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