When Shabazz Napier pulled up from the E in Wells Fargo and drained a game winning 3 ball, he may have saved the Huskies season. While UCONN has struggled of late, this is still one of the most talented teams in the country. At one point this season, they were ranked #4, and they have 2 potential lottery picks this season in Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond. A shot like this turns a season around. And while I am usually down on the Big East, you can be sure that nobody wants to face this team come tourney time.
I currently project UCONN as a 10 seed, and they’re currently #50 in my rankings, which seems about right for the time being. A home game at Syracuse this Saturday provides a tremendous opportunity, but in the absence of a win, all is not lost. Games at Providence and home against Pitt should both be wins, and even with a first round exit in the Big East tournament, a 2-2 finish should be enough to get this team in. UCONN has 6 wins over top 50 RPI teams, which is tied for 8th most in the country. I don’t see any way the committee would deny this team a bid to include some other fringe bubble squads with far fewer impressive victories.
This is a very interesting storyline, because I think the Huskies eventually settle in as an 8 or 9 seed. If they end up in the same region as Kentucky, there could be 4 of the projected top 7 NBA picks according to NBADraft.net… in a 2nd round game.
I’m intrigued for the time being at a team loaded with potential, entering the tournament a little underrated. If the Huskies can put together a strong finish in the next two weeks and gain some momentum, who knows what could happen. There was a similar team last year that went as high as #5, then finished the regular season 4-7 before winning their final 11 games…
We’ll learn a lot about this team, and whether or not it has the fight to make a deep tourney run as it unfolds before March 11th.