UConn Report podcast: Dana O’Neil discusses her new Big East book, current status of league, UConn

Since she began covering Villanova basketall some 20 years ago, through her time at ESPN.com to her position now as senior writer at The Athletic, Dana O’Neil has had a unique and prominent vantage point on college basketball in general and the Big East in particular.

O’Neil recently wrote a book, The Big East: Inside the Most Entertaining and Influential Conference in College Basketball History, that chronicles the history of the league, from its origins under Dave Gavitt, through the great successes of Georgetown, Villanova, St. John’s, Syracuse, Providence, Seton Hall and, of course, UConn.

On this week’s UConn Report podcast, O’Neil discusses her book and the great players and colorful characters (Louie, Big John, Rollie and “the ‘Hoon” himself, Jim Calhoun) that made the Big East so unique and, indeed, entertaining. We learn about those legendary Big East coaches’ meetings and golf outings where grudges and even near-fist fights were the norm, and talk about the legendary six-overtime game between UConn and Syracuse in 2009 — including a great Calhoun quote about the game’s outcome.

She also talks about the current state of the Big East, peers into its potential future regarding conference re-alignment, and gives her thoughts on this year’s UConn men’s basketball team, as well.

If you are unable to access the podcast above, please find it on SoundCloud.