Because the media has ample time to fill time between Selection Sunday and the first few rounds of the tournament, the storyline getting played up this week regarding the UConn Huskies was whether or not they would be mentally and emotionally ready for another tournament format. Winners of five games in five nights to capture the Big East Conference Tournament – a feat we may not see replicated in our lifetime – the Huskies were supposed to have a lapse against the undermanned Bucknell Bison tonight.
But that didn’t really happen, as the Huskies rolled 82-51 in a game that actually wasn’t even that close.
Deferring to his teammates as a way to keep them engaged, Kemba Walker decided to only drop 18 points, dishing out a career high 12 dimes as a result of some soft double teams, breaking the school record for assists in an NCAA Tournament game. He also had eight rebounds just to tease us into triple-double talk as the game got out of hand.
Flipping between this game and BYU-Wofford, it was fascinating to see the contrasting decision-making abilities between the game’s two most dangerous perimeter players. As BYU’s Jimmer Fredette went around and through double teams, Walker sported a smug grin as he chose to hit wide open teammates as two Bison chased him around the Verizon Center.
As the Huskies move on to face the winner of Missouri-Cincinnati, there’s no reason to think this team is going to stumble due to some sort of mental breakdown. Despite a sub-par three-point shooting performance (9-24) the Huskies converted on 55 percent of their two-point buckets, continuing their trend of successfully attacking the basket and keeping big man Alex Oriakhi involved.