Is UConn a ‘Blue Blood’ program? Coach K thinks so

UConn is heavily favored to win its fifth NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament national championship since 1999 when the Huskies take on San Diego State in Monday night’s title game. But has the program come far enough to be considered in the sport’s elite tier of “blue bloods”?

One man who knows a thing or two about bringing a program to “blue blood” status thinks so. In a recent podcast interview with FOX Sports’ Colin Cowherd, legendary former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski highlighted UConn’s ascendance over the past quarter-century and had especially high praise for former Huskies coach Jim Calhoun.

“When people say there are no ‘blue bloods’ in the [2023] Final Four,” Krzyzewski said. “You have to be kidding me. What Jim Calhoun built — one of the great coaches but also maybe the greatest builder of a program — since 1999, they’ve won four national championships. … Certainly, they’re at the level of all the teams you say are blue bloods.”

Duke, which won five national titles of its own during Krzyzewski’s tenure there from 1980-2022, is widely considered one of those “blue bloods,” as is archrival North Carolina along with similarly decorated schools such as Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA

[Final Four 2023: It’s a different kind of field this time, and that’s good for the sport]

Villanova, which won two of its three national titles in three seasons from 2016-18 under former head coach Jay Wright, was also lumped in with Duke, North Carolina and Kansas when those four teams made the 2022 Final Four in what was dubbed the “Blue Blood Invitational.” 

That lineup has drawn a contrast to this season’s Final Four, which featured two non-Power 6 schools (Florida Atlantic and San Diego State), one ACC school that does not have a history of much basketball success (Miami) and the aforementioned Huskies. While many have pointed out that contrast, Krzyzewski wants to make sure that UConn is still getting the respect he thinks it deserves as an elite program.

Of course, the UConn women’s basketball program is considered the bluest of blue bloods in its sport, having won 11 titles and recorded six undefeated seasons under longtime head coach Geno Auriemma. 

Though the Huskies women’s team suffered an uncharacteristically down year due to injuries that ended in a Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State, Auriemma is still back in the Final Four — but this time as a fan, cheering on the Huskies men’s squad and current head coach Dan Hurley as Hurley seeks his first national championship.

Read more:

FOLLOW Follow your favorites to personalize your FOX Sports experience

UConn Huskies

Duke Blue Devils

College Basketball

Get more from College Basketball Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more

Source link