- The Washington Times - Friday, March 20, 2009

PHILADELPHIA

Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun watched Connecticut’s first-round victory against Chattanooga from a hospital bed.

Calhoun, 66, was admitted to University of Pennsylvania Hospital on Thursday afternoon for an undisclosed illness and stayed overnight for observation on the advice of team doctor Jeff Anderson.

“I have been feeling lousy for the past several days and this morning talked to Dr. Anderson about it,” Calhoun said in a statement. “He suggested that we go over to the hospital to have some testing done. Fortunately, those tests have all gone well, and I am feeling much better. I will stay the night as a precaution and anticipate being checked again in the morning and being able to leave the hospital at that time.”

Associate head coach George Blaney, who was in charge against Chattanooga, said the team talked to Calhoun via speakerphone after the game but could not or would not shed any light on the nature of Calhoun’s condition. Blaney coached five games in Calhoun’s stead in 2003 when the Connecticut mentor was sidelined after surgery for prostate cancer.

Assuming he is able to return for Saturday’s second-round game and his illness has no long-term repercussions, Calhoun’s ailment could be a good omen for the Huskies (28-4). Calhoun has missed all or parts of 21 games during his 23-year career. Most interestingly, he has missed two NCAA tournament games because of illness, and both came during Connecticut’s two title runs. In 1999, he missed the Huskies’ opening-round victory against Texas-San Antonio. In 2004, he missed the team’s second-round victory against DePaul.

Rabid Wolverines

Michigan’s decade-plus NCAA tournament drought finally ended in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday night. And nothing was going to quash - or quiet - the spirit of some students who made the long trip from Ann Arbor.

They rushed into Sprint Center at the start of the second session of the day, chatting up pretty much anyone who would make their acquaintance.

Some left as early as 3:30 a.m. to make the 700-mile-plus trip, and they immediately set about taunting first-round opponent Clemson in a mostly empty arena. Perhaps the best insult was to wonder (rather loudly) why the Tigers had a player who looked like Sarah Jessica Parker.

Still, it was mostly a celebration of the Wolverines’ first tournament appearance since 1998. Radio analyst Jimmy King - a member of the Fab Five - grinned as he walked past.

“Every time they need you to be louder, I’m gonna point to you,” he said.

A familiar outcome

BYU’s nightmares come in shades of maroon and white. With Thursday’s 79-66 loss to Texas A&M, the Cougars became the first team in NCAA history to lose opening-round NCAA tournament games in consecutive seasons to the same team. Last season, the Aggies edged BYU 67-62 in Anaheim, Calif.

&#8226 Staff writer Patrick Stevens contributed to this article.

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