03/09/2010 5:41 PM ET
Questions surround Calhoun, Roberts
Coaches face uncertainty after St. John's routs UConn
By Adam Zagoria / SNY.tv
Norm Roberts will wait and see if his team did enough this for the St. John's coach to keep his job. (AP)

NEW YORK -- The storylines surrounding UConn coach Jim Calhoun and St. John's coach Norm Roberts were intriguing even before their two teams squared off Tuesday in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.

How close is the aging and ailing Calhoun to the end of his own career? What's left in the cupboard at UConn after this season to motivate him to stay?

Could the embattled Roberts save his job with a late-season run at Madison Square Garden? How far would he have to take the Red Storm in the Big East to do so?

Those questions became even more pronounced after the No. 13 Red Storm put a 73-51 beat-down on the No. 12 Huskies to advance to a second-round date with Marquette Wednesday.

"There's no way I thought we'd lose this game," Calhoun said.

UConn suffered its sixth straight Big East tournament loss and hasn't won a tournament game since 2005.

Calhoun spent much of the second half sitting passively on the bench with his hands around his knee, watching his team get throttled by St. John's.

"Quite frankly, we just got handled by a St. John's team who played very hungry," he said.

It's hard to imagine that this was the same UConn team that this year beat then-No. 1 Texas, then-No. 3 Villanova and then-No. 9 West Virginia.

So many questions loom for a coach who has won two NCAA championships and last year reached the Final Four in Detroit.

Most immediately is the issue of whether the Huskies will accept an NIT bid should they be offered one on Sunday.

"If we're going to play like that, I say no. I wouldn't want to," UConn sophomore guard Kemba Walker said. "It was definitely embarrassing, especially how much we lost by. If we do go in the NIT and we're going to play like that, I'd rather not."

Calhoun wouldn't commit either way, saying he needed to gauge his team's mental state.

"I want to make sure if there's a step back on the court to play a basketball game, that they would be able to bring emotion, energy and all the things you should bring to competition," he said.

As for his future, Calhoun confirmed that he has yet to sign the five-year contract extension that UConn offered him. His current deal expires at the end of June.

"There is a contract offer out there, he said. "I haven't seen the final copy. But it's out there."

With the graduation of Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards, UConn needs to replenish its coffers and desperately needs an elite guard to fill the void.

They are in the mix for Brandon Knight, Cory Joseph, Josh Selby and Doron Lamb -- the four top unsigned guards -- but there is no guarantee any of them will choose the Huskies. Walker said he likely planned to spend at least one more year in college before coming out in order to get a "solid spot" in the NBA draft, but said the players would have to wait on Calhoun's plans.

"It's up to him, it's up to him. We'll just be waiting," he said.

As for St. John's, the immediate picture is much brighter.

The Red Storm played inspired ball, hitting 7 of 13 from beyond the arc and getting a game-high 19 points from Sean Evans and 13 from Justin Brownlee

Next up is a Marquette team that the Red Storm lost to in overtime, 63-61, only because of a circus fadeaway jumper by Jimmy Butler on Feb. 24.

If St. John's can win this game, it will make it that much more difficult for the administration to replace Roberts with someone like Tom Pecora, Paul Hewitt or Kevin Willard.

"I don't know," Roberts said of his coaching future. "I haven't discussed that stuff. That's you guys in the media talk about that. I haven't talked to the administration. They haven't talked to me. Let the chips fall where they may.

"All I can do is do the things that I control. And the players can control what they do as far as their energy and effort, and that's the same for me."

For Roberts and the Johnnies, the immediate future is here at the Garden.

For Calhoun and the Huskies, the next stop is uncertain.

Adam Zagoria is a regular contributor to SNY.tv. Read his blog at ZagsBlog.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AdamZagoria.
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