Jim Calhoun and Bob Huggins have combined to coach in 1,935 games, but they’ve only squared off against each other once.
The coaches will meet for the first time in nearly 13 years when Calhoun and No. 15 Connecticut welcome Huggins and West Virginia to Hartford, Conn. on Saturday.
Huggins, who has 610 career wins, joined his alma mater before this season - his first in the Big East. He parted ways with Cincinnati before the Bearcats joined the league in the 2005-06 season.
Calhoun, meanwhile, ranks third among active Division I coaches with 772 career victories as he tries to guide Connecticut (22-6, 11-4) back into the NCAA tournament after a one-year absence. This is the Hall of Famer’s 22nd season with the Huskies.
The only previous time the coaches met was in the second round of the 1995 NCAA tournament when Connecticut beat Cincinnati 96-91.
While an NCAA bid for Calhoun’s club seems secure, Huggins and West Virginia (20-8, 9-6) could probably cement one with another big road win. The Mountaineers won for the fourth time in five games with an 85-73 victory at DePaul on Wednesday.
Alex Ruoff scored 22 points for West Virginia, which used a 22-0 run in the first half to build a big lead and never looked back. The Mountaineers improved to 3-4 in conference road games.
“We’re 9-6 in the league with three to go,” Huggins told the school’s official Web site. “We need to keep doing what we’re doing and get some more road wins.”
West Virginia has never won at Connecticut, losing all six previous visits. The last three meetings between the teams have all been in Morgantown, however, and West Virginia improved to 3-11 in the overall series with an 81-71 win in the only matchup last season.
In that game, the Mountaineers were able to hold UConn forward Jeff Adrien to seven points and eight rebounds.
The Huskies are expecting a different effort from their leading scorer this time after Adrien had a career-high 27 points and 11 boards in a 79-61 win at Rutgers on Tuesday. It was his third straight double-double and 15th of the season - good for second in the Big East.
Adrien, averaging 14.9 points and 9.3 rebounds, credited a conversation with Calhoun for his big performance.
“Anytime coach talks to me about anything I need to come through,” Adrien said. “He talks to me and tells me I’m not playing like Jeff Adrien. Whenever I talk to coach I always tend to step it up for some reason. He asked for 40 (minutes) and I gave him 40.”
Stanley Robinson and Craig Austrie each added 18 points for the Huskies, who have won 10 of 11.
UConn sophomore guard Jerome Dyson returned after a nine-game suspension for violating team rules. Dyson, who started the first 18 games and averages 13.7 points, had three points and five assists in 15 minutes off the bench.
“It was good,” Dyson said of his return. “I just wanted to be out on the floor with my teammates. That was the biggest thing that I missed, just being on the floor with my teammates.”
The Huskies are 14-1 at home, including 7-1 in Hartford.