Dec. 2, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut men's basketball team is back in action on Tuesday night when it travels to Madison Square Garden to play North Carolina State at 9:00 p.m. in the Jimmy V Classic. The Huskies are off to a 6-1 start and are coming off a Thursday win over New Hampshire while North Carolina is 4-2 and ranked 18th in the country in the polls of Nov. 26.
UConn will be makings its first-ever appearance in the Jimmy V Classic, challenging North Carolina State, the team most closely associated with late coach Jim Valvano. The game will be the second game of the Jimmy V Classic doubleheader, following Georgetown vs. Texas. Both games will be televised by ESPN.
UConn, led by the guard tandem of junior Shabazz Napier (18.6 ppg) and sophomore Ryan Boatright (13.7 ppg, 4.9 apg), is coming off a 61-53 win over New Hampshire Thursday. North Carolina State (4-2), ranked No. 18 as of the Nov. 26 polls, suffered a 79-72 loss at Michigan on Nov. 27. The Wolfpack is led by freshman T.J. Warren (15.3 ppg) and senior Richard Howell (14.2 ppg).
For a copy of the UConn game notes, CLICK HERE.
We will also be chatting live from MSG...see below for details.
The Jimmy V Classic was begun in 1995 to help raise funds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research, founded in 1993 by the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State coach and ESPN commentator. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $100 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide.
Valvano is most closely associated with North Carolina State as a collegiate coach, he also had a strong connection with the University of Connecticut, where he landed his first fulltime Division I coaching job.
After his graduation from Rutgers, Valvano coached one year (1969-70) at Division III Johns Hopkins, then learned that UConn coach Dee Rowe had an opening on his staff. The two met, had an instant connection, and Rowe hired Valvano on July, 1970.
It was the beginning of a close friendship that lasted until Valvano's death in 1993. Valvano coached two seasons at UConn, ironically, the only two losing seasons of Rowe's head coaching career.
"I used to speak at dinners honoring Jim, and all these people would get up and say what a great coach he was," joked Rowe, now a special adviser for athletics at UConn. "And I would say, `He isn't that great. Those were two of the worst years I ever had in coaching.' He was great at keeping me from jumping into the Connecticut River."
Valvano left UConn in 1972 to become the head coach at Bucknell, then moved on to Iona, and to N.C. State.