“This is not January basketball at UConn; this is March basketball at UConn.”
This was the sentiment portrayed by head coach Geno Auriemma during the third episode of the HBO special “UConn: The March to Madness,” as this is the time of year when the winning that matters is done. Auriemma was the focus of the third episode as it allowed viewers to get to know the Hall of Fame coach better and see what drives him and his team to keep winning.
The episode starts with Auriemma on the golf course as he talks about the amazing success his team has enjoyed this season as he says if they end with a championship it would be a fairytale ending, but if they get knocked out early it would be like an “incredible dream you woke up too early from.” Throughout the episode, Auriemma opens up about his life growing up in Italy and how he moved to America in 1961 at age seven to join his father who was there in 1960.
Growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Auriemma was one of seven kids to live in the house along with four parents. Basketball became a “god send” for him according to his mother as he was able to become part of society. Following the background on his childhood, there are some great interviewers with Auriemma’s godfather, his mother and members of the Norristown community about their “favorite son.” Along with the background and interviewers about Auriemma, there is a wonderful segment about him and his wife Cathy cooking and reflecting on their life in Connecticut.
After a three-day break for the Huskies, there is another portion of the episode dedicated to showing the players on the court, including a shout out for the men’s practice team, who are called the “unsung heroes” of the program. To the surprise of no one, Auriemma is critical of his team’s effort and performance as he wants his team to be at their best, as it is March and time for their best basketball to be played.
Other highlights in the episode include learning about junior Gabby William’s love of vinyl records, watching four Huskies go through a photoshoot for ESPN and watching the team go through the Selection Monday process.
The fourth episode of “UConn: The March to Madness? will be March 22 at 10 p.m. as it will highlight the NCAA tournament and most likely be about the first two games of the NCAA tournament.
Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.