Following Thursday night’s 73-66 overtime win against Cincinnati, UConn improved to 8-5 in Big East Conference play. The Huskies are only two games out of first place. However, a postseason ban for 2013 strands the Huskies in Storrs once the Madness begins.
In two weeks, UConn’s season ends in a regular season finale against Providence. The Huskies have over-exceeded expectations this year, under first year head coach Kevin Ollie, leaving UConn only imagining what chaos they could bring to March.
“I’m just sad because if this team got in the NCAA Tournament, we could make a crazy run,” Shabazz Napier told Don Amore of The Harford Courant. “We’re so together. We’re playing with so much passion. The NCAA Tournament is missing a great team.”
Once again UConn proved its toughness Thursday in Hartford with an overtime win over Cincinnati. This has been the case since opening the season with a win over then fourteenth-ranked Michigan State. It’s continued into the New Year with wins in South Bend and knocking off soon to be ex-Big East rival Syracuse.
Napier is the team leader — who also dropped 11 points in overtime — and knows better than anyone what a ‘crazy run’ looks like. The junior guard was a freshman when UConn finished ninth in the Big East, and went on to win the national title.
UConn has been resilient all year, being outrebounded 44-28 and still beating Cincy is just the latest example. Though some of UConn’s play could come from not being able to play in postseason tournaments. The Huskies adopted the the spoiler label and have carried that chip on their shoulder this season.
The Huskies are a talented team with Napier playing his way into postseason award conversations, along with the play of Ryan Boatright, and the emergence of freshman Omar Calhoun and second-year man DeAndre Daniels. UConn doing all with an undersized, now undermanned front line with Enosch Wolf out.
The Huskies might have a crazy run in them, but we’ll never see it.