UConn’s Dan Hurley calls out tweet from ESPN analyst after reaching Final Four: ‘I like the slights’

Is anyone doubting that UConn is the clear favorite to go back-to-back and win another national championship at this point? Well, Dan Hurley found at least one doubter.

Even the great teams will go to great lengths to convince themselves they are an underdog, and Hurley has been blunt about using that mentality to motivate his players.

When UConn was given an early Thursday night game in the Sweet 16 after playing a Sunday night game in the second round, Hurley told reporters, “It gives me a little bit more ‘Us against the world’ stuff that I can utilize,” explaining that “the committee has tried to make this as difficult as they can” for UConn.

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That idea might be a bit contrived, particularly after the Huskies had no problem getting back to the Final Four. That still hasn’t stopped Hurley from finding every possible way to drum up motivation.

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Hurley told reporters after Saturday’s Elite Eight win over Illinois that he was motivated by a tweet from ESPN analyst Sean Harrington ahead of the game. The tweet argued that Illini star Terrence Shannon Jr. would be the “best player on the floor” against UConn and claimed the Huskies didn’t have anyone who could stop him.

“Statements like that are just asinine. You’re going against beasts and monsters every night in the Big East, and the Big East prepared us for teams like Illinois.” Hurley said.

Hurley said the tweet was shared with him by a staff member who “wanted to add a little more fuel to my fire.” Shannon finished with eight points on 2-of-12 shooting.

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“I like the slights,” Hurley said. adding that he likes to use “external” comments to motivate his team. “We heard the things that players were saying in the lead-up to this one.”

It’s tough to imagine UConn wasn’t already motivated with a trip to the Final Four on the line, but if it works, it works. Just about everything Hurley has done over the last two seasons has worked, and he now has the Huskies two wins away from another title.

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