UConn arrives in Houston; team talks about preparation for Final Four matchup

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:39 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 30, 2023 at 11:59 AM EDT
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HOUSTON, TX (WFSB) - The University of Connecticut men’s basketball team arrived in Houston on Wednesday for the Final Four.

The Huskies got to the city sometime Wednesday night as folks there continued to prepare for Saturday night’s game against Miami.

Channel 3′s crew took a ride to NRG Stadium, which is on the outskirts of downtown Houston. It saw the signs and preparations for the national semi-finals, and the National Championship Game, which is set for Monday night.

Workers continue to put the finishing touches around the venue.

It’s a 70,000-seat stadium that is the home of the Houston Texans of the NFL. So, it’ll be a new experience for the Huskies as well as Miami, Florida Atlantic and San Diego State.

The city has a population of more than 2.3 million. The local residents said they believe there is no better or bigger melting pot.

“We are a very diverse city and everybody belongs and we welcome everybody,” said Carmen Gallegos, founder, Houston City Tours. “We have famous architects, like I. M Peck and Phillip Johnson who did put Houston on the map world wide.”

The games will mark the fourth time Houston hosted a Final Four.

Former UConn men’s basketball coach Jim Calhoun, who is retired but still a consultant to the program, doesn’t believe the size of the city and venue will be an issue. He said the Huskies were built for success wherever they play.

“I think we are the best team, we are playing the best,” Calhoun told Channel 3. “Everything Is game-to-game. I worried about our point guard [spot], but because of our inside game, I think we can make that up.”

Calhoun is a confident man, and Channel 3 learned over the years that when a coach says he or she likes their team and they are the best, they really believe it.

Later Thursday, the Huskies will hold a closed practice.

The atmosphere around Houston will pick up as fans start to arrive.

UConn’s game on Saturday tips off at 8:49 p.m. and can be seen on Channel 3/CBS.