Will mediocrity soon be new normal at UConn?

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 06: Head coach Jim Calhoun of the Connecticut Huskies reacts against the DePaul Blue Demons during their first round game of the 2012 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 6, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

We're not even one month into the college basketball off-season, and already UConn is proverbially in last place.

Fresh off losing its fourth rotation player from a season ago, Roscoe Smith's departure from the Husky basketball program yesterday seems to have officially confirmed what many were ready to announce: with an aging hall of fame head coach and looming 2013 post-season ban, the Connecticut Huskies basketball program may be in really, really big trouble.

I've been waiting to go 1000 words deep on this thesis, but today CBSSports.com's Matt Norlander beat me to the punch:

The Huskies are downshifting. Things could stay slow and under the radar for a while, which reinforces the idea that we're moving pretty fast toward a new reality with UConn hoops. This uncertainty and perceived averageness could be the beginning of Connecticut's new existence. At guard, it will still be very talented — if no one else transfers from now until September. And that is no given.

There are a lot of state universities in rural areas that thrive athletically. Many of them are still within an arms length of elite prep players or in a region of the country that consistently breeds athletes; their immediate location does not hinder them from being competitive.

That is not the case for the University of Connecticut. Located in the woods of the Constitution State, Storrs is right in the middle of a part of the country that isn't known for pumping out athletes.

Overall, New England is not a recruiting hot bed and fans pour most of their emotions into pro sports. They'll dial up sports radio to yack about bullpen problems at the Fens a thousand times before even wasting a breath on a college basketball program in their backyard that's losing steam.

Responsible for more than 44 percent of the programs wins and three National Championships, Jim Calhoun has taken the program to heights never imagined back in mid 1980s, and there's an argument to be made that UConn is a program all about Calhoun and nothing about the name on the jersey.

He's established the school as a basketball powerhouse, and was able to regularly recruit any part of the country.In a way, UConn has been a college basketball anomaly like it's little brother to the north once was.

When John Calipari left the University of Massachusetts, and Marcus Camby, Lou Roe and company soon thereafter, the Minutemen basketball program was never the same. The luster was lost and so was the national prominence. UMass couldn't remain a top 25 program just recruiting nearby cities and towns and their new normal of being average has continued into today.

The prospects of the same downfall happening to UConn real if not likely to happen. Playing in a conference that has taken a major hit with the loss of key basketball schools, Husky basketball may simply not matter that much going forward, and mediocrity will ensue.

Sadly, we may be losing a current basketball powerhouse.

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