Students are back on campus and the spring semester is underway, so it’s a good time to look back and reflect on what happened in between semesters. With so much action both professionally and collegiately, here are some of winter break’s winners and losers in the wide world of sports.
Winner: UConn Women’s Basketball
No surprises here as the No. 1-ranked Huskies notched seven wins over the break, capped off with a record breaking 91st consecutive victory. With their 88-48 win over SMU on Saturday, they broke the Division I basketball record the program set in 2010.
They pummeled the four opponents from the American that they faced, winning each contest by 40 or more. Prior to beginning conference play they had impressive wins against No. 16 Ohio State, No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 4 Maryland.
Winner: USA Hockey
Despite being considered second tier to their rivals in Canada, the United States junior men’s and women’s under-18 hockey teams captured gold medals in their World Junior Championship tournaments. Both teams defeated Canada in the gold medal final, with the men winning 5-4 in a shootout and the women capturing 3-1 victory.
Gold medals for these teams exhibit the strong talent on the rise for USA Hockey, as the world’s best players are now coming from not only Canada, but also the United States.
UConn hockey’s sophomore forward Tage Thompson won gold with the men’s team. He recorded five points in seven games during the tournament.
Winner: UConn Football
The firing of Bob Diaco and his staff makes way for a strong panel of coaching talent. Randy Edsall’s return to UConn may be helpful as change was clearly necessary following a disappointing 3-9 season.
But the hire of Rhett Lashlee to be the offensive coordinator could have a bigger impact. UConn’s offense has been dismal in recent years. Lashlee comes from Auburn where he led a consistently high-powered offense.
Loser: Odell Beckham Jr.
The star Giants wide receiver began his playoff week on a boat in Miami with Justin Bieber and some of his teammates. From this, he received extensive criticism from the media and fans questioning his commitment level.
Beckham was unable to prove the critics wrong as he put on a terrible performance in the Giants’ Wild Card Round game against the Green Bay Packers. Forget one-handed catches, Beckham could not catch anything sent his way. His ugly performance helped propel the Giants to a 38-13 defeat. He reportedly punched a hole in a wall at Lambeau Field to top off his performance following the game.
Until he gets another postseason opportunity, Beckham will have to live with critics saying he chokes in the playoffs.
Loser: New York Knicks
The Knicks struggled to pick up wins over the break, as the team spiraled towards rock bottom on and off the court. Derrick Rose left the team without giving any reason for his absence, before returning to complain about their poor defense.
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony’s play continued to be questioned, with the feud between him and Phil Jackson intensifying. The trade rumors for Anthony continue to heighten with his lackluster play and disagreements with management.
While they remain in the playoff hunt, they fell to 11th place in the Eastern Conference, three games out of a playoff spot.
Loser: Rodney Purvis
Purvis had some bright spots over the break, such as his strong game against UCF, but was underwhelming overall. UConn was relying on him to be a force in their lineup this season, but he has underperformed. His shooting percentage this year is far lower than any of his previous campaigns.
The lack of scoring from Purvis became more discouraging over the break as it seems less likely that he will truly break out of his slump. Over the break, he shot over 40 percent just once.
Dylan Barrett is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com