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February 4, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, February 4th, 2003

by Adam Shandler

Cancer. It’s that disease that other people get.

Cancer. Folks in the athletic community aren’t supposed to get it because they know how to take care of themselves.

Cancer. It’s for smokers and drinkers and people who work in mine shafts. And coaches who discover, irritably, that basketball must be pushed down to second or third on the priority list as quickly as a team in the polls that just lost a game it shouldn’t have.

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun, a college hoops mainstay, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The 60-year-old skipper will take a three-to-four week leave of absence to undergo treatment. Preparing for enemies that personify animals or historical characters will have to wait. On Thursday, Calhoun will not be stepping into a commercially sponsored arena or field house named for some wealthy benefactor. He will enter the UConn Health Center O.R.

Now, we could easily turn this thing into a melodramatic, get-out-the hankies expose on how cancer devastates lives and saddens communities. But according to Calhoun’s doctors, the growth was detected early and is “relatively low-grade.”

So instead of making this piece a weepfest, let’s use it to make a public service announcement. After all, Calhoun has.

“Do your family, do your loved ones a favor, and get yourself screened,” he said after a routine screening. His advice is worth heeding. 1 out of every 6 men is diagnosed with the disease.

If we know Calhoun, he’ll beat this thing like the Huskies beat Hartford every year.
The only coach to be named Big East Coach of theYear four times said, “I’m going to attack this thing. I’m going after it.”

Can’t wait to have you back on the sidelines saying that, Coach.

Assistant coach George Blaney is in charge until Calhoun’s return. Virginia Tech serves as his first hurdle on Wednesday night.

Other sports legends who have beaten prostate cancer include golfer Arnold Palmer and former Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy. Persian Gulf War General Norman Schwarzkopf, calypso crooner Harry Belafonte and ex-investment banker Michael Milken (the founder of CapCure, a prostate cancer research and info organization) are also survivors.

If you’d like more information on prostate cancer,as well as info on how to get screened, please visit www.capcure.org.

Side Dishes

Florida is the Fave: With the Top 3 contenders in college hoops all suffering losses this past weekend, the Florida Gators have earned the top spot in our Hoopville Top 25 poll. Arizona drops to 2, Texas hangs tight at 3, Oklahoma 4 and Louisville, with the most considerable jump, climbs to 5 — from 8 last week. Duke took a huge nosedive to 11, Pitt dips to 6, and Connecticut plummets from 12 to 18. Click on the link in the upper right hand corner of your screen to see how the rest of the poll panned out.

Kansas Hangs Tough: The No. 10 Kansas Jayhawks stuck their finger in the upset dyke last night by thwarting No. 23 Mizzou, 76-70 in Lawrence. The Tigers out-boarded Kansas and hit 10 3-Pointers, but also committed 20 turnovers, which can be the kiss of death in a game like this. Kirk Hinrich had 24 points and 8 assists.

The ‘Cuse is Loose: No letdown here. After stymying Pittsburgh on Saturday, 20th ranked Syracuse bested unranked Georgetown, 88-80. Five Orangemen scored in double figures, led by both Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara who had 22.

Hawks the Biggest of the 5: In another Big 5 contest at the Palestra last night St. Joe’s hammered Villanova, 92-75. The Hawks wins snapped a five-game losing streak against the Wildcats. Jameer Nelson scored 30 while Delonte West, back from a one game suspension for scrapping with a trainer, had 25. St. Joseph’s earns a least a share of the Big 5 title, the first time since 1990-91. All they need to do is beat LaSalle and the title is theirs.

Tonight’s Menu

If Tom Ridge had any jurisdiction here, he’d advise of an Upset Level-Orange. Florida, bear-hugged by much of the basketball media, takes on No. 7 Kentucky in SEC action tonight.

• Third-ranked Texas heads to Colorado, where the Buffaloes are 8-1 at home. The Longhorns are coming off a 78-65 win over No. 12 Oklahoma State, earned Saturday.

• The Creighton Bluejays, our 13th-best team, put their 11-0 home record on the line tonight against MVC rival Northern Iowa. The Panthers are road-weary at 1-8, 6-12 overall.

• No. 19 Xavier already disposed of one irksome A-10 opponent, Richmond, on Saturday. Tonight, the Musketeers face another one: George Washington in DC.

• Sixth-ranked Pitt had an opportunity to gain No. 1 status this past weekend but blew a heartbreaker 67-65 to surging Syracuse. The Panthers hope to get back on track tonight against the Providence Friars. Pitt is undefeated at home.

• Two teams with decent histories of NCAA Tourney play challenge each other tonight. Struggling Charlotte visits 11-8 Valpo. The Crusaders are stingy at home at 9-1.

Have a good Tuesday, folks.

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