UConn Insider Podcast: Steve Lappas On Coaching Against A Shadow And Big East Re-Entry

Steve Lappas knows about coaching against a shadow. The CBS Network analyst had to follow legendary Villanova coach Rollie Massimino, whose Wildcats won a national championship in 1985 and were always a tough out in the NCAA tournament.

Lappas — who coached at Villanova from 1992 to 2001, collecting the program’s first Big East championship but otherwise struggling to meet expectations in March — is better schooled than most in the intricacies of the dilemma facing UConn’s Kevin Ollie.

So what’s the recipe for rallying the masses and making them forget about their beloved former savior? How do you knock off the unbeaten Nostalgia U?

It would seem Ollie already possesses the answer.

“It’s all about winning,” Lappas told the Courant’s Dom Amore on the latest episode of the UConn Insider podcast. “Fans are fans. They’re just going to look at things the way they want to look at it and that’s it. … The bottom line is you’ve gotta win enough.

“After [Ollie’s] second year, I don’t think people were saying, ‘Gee, what would Jim Calhoun have done?’ Because look what [Ollie] did.”

Amore opens the show with his own assessment of Saturday’s ugly loss against Villanova (1:30), which spawned a new Ollie-ism (4:45). He discusses the historic blowout tally the Huskies have racked up (7:00), the wear and tear of AAC travel (9:00), Terry Larrier’s injury (10:45) and the outlook for the rest of the season (13:20).

Amore is then joined by Lappas to break down the Huskies’ lack of depth (15:00), their scoring woes, the visibility — or lack thereof — that comes with playing in the AAC and how that impacts recruiting, and whether Big East re-entry could rejuvenate the program.

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