The College Basketball Notebook

November 25, 2010 7:06 AM

UConn Wins In Maui

KembaWalker.jpgLast season was rough for UConn, especially down the stretch, but 2010-11 got off to a much brighter starter as Jim Calhoun's program won the Maui Classic in Hawaii, zipping through successive wins over Wichita State, Michigan State and finally Kentucky in last night's final. Kemba Walker was dynamite all three games, average 30 ppg. In the last two games he got a lot of help inside from Alexi Oriahki, who hit the glass for 17 rebounds against Michigan State and 11 more against Kentucky. The toughest test actually came from Wichita State in the first game, when the Huskies needed a huge 32-9 scoring edge on the line to escape the Shockers.

Kentucky has to be happy with the results, given John Calipari is pretty much replacing the entire team from last year's SEC champs. Forward Terrence Jones may be emerging as the Wildcats latest star. He opened the tournament with 29 points against Oklahoma and rebounded and scored consistently over the next two nights. Guard Brandon Knight knocked down 24 in the semi-final win over Washington. Michigan State came in ranked #2 in the country and the loss to UConn was their only misstep. But single-digit wins over Chaminade and Washington don't suggest they're national elite yet. Kalin Lucas is though, and he poured in 29 points in the Spartans' 76-71 win over Washington in last night's third-place game.

Oklahoma and Virginia looked to be shaky coming into this event and they leave with those suspicions confirmed. The Cavs won their head-to-head game with the Sooners 74-56, but otherwise both teams combined to go 0-5, including OU's 68-64 loss to Chaminade last night. 

Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in college football ,game analysis in the NFL. and coverage of college basketball. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.

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