Is UConn really going to do this again?
After spending most of the regular season making us believe they were one of the worst Huskies teams in recent memory, is this group really going to embark on another near-miraculous run that puts them back in the bracket come March?
UConn men’s basketball seasons have almost become like episodes of Scooby-Doo.
Other-worldly stuff starts happening (like losses to Wagner and Northeastern), Scooby and Shaggy are LOST, there’s only a few minutes left in the episode, and you’re losing faith that anything is ever going to be solved.
Then all of a sudden, Ollie pulls the mask off Mick Cronin’s head, and they’ve caught another villain.
The NIT would have had them too, if it weren’t for that meddling Adams and his ridiculous game-winners.
Ollie’s either Scooby-Doo, or the Don Vito Corleone of college basketball coaches.
Every time we think we’re out, he pulls us back in.
One month ago, UConn had reached the low point of its season, and maybe the low point of Ollie’s tenure as coach, when it was embarassed, 69-49 at SMU. Getting blown out by the Mustangs in Dallas has become an annual rite of passage for the Huskies, but it’s somehow always served to wake them up.
Since that loss, UConn has reeled off seven of eight, including back-to-back pull-the-mask-off-the-guy’s-head finishes at the buzzer.
They came back from down 17 to edge Memphis in the final minutes, and down 10 with 8 minutes to go before storming back and upending Temple. Those two wins looked like the start of something, as fragile and far-fetched as it may be.
But is it too little, too late?
At this point, the Huskies would probably have to win out and do some damage in the American Athletic Conference tournament— if they aren’t going to win the whole thing.
Yes, this year’s bubble is extra-soft (Clemson is involved), and yes, there are a couple of opportunities for quality wins still remaining on the schedule (home games against 17th-ranked SMU and 15th-ranked Cincinnati). But even something like a 20-13 finish probably wouldn’t be enough to get UConn in.
They’re probably going to have to run the table in Hartford.
A few weeks ago, you would have said that UConn has no chance to do that, but now, you can see it happening.
“I think guys are just gaining more confidence, starting with our freshmen,” said Jalen Adams. “They don’t play like freshmen no more, so I shouldn’t even be calling them that. Our seniors are doing a great job leading, and everybody is buying in to what we’re trying to do.”
He later added, “G–G-G-Ghost!” (OK, not really).
Winning at Houston, which absolutely humiliated the Huskies in Hartford back in December, would provide another confidence boost. Beating SMU or Cincinnati at home would be even better.
At this point in UConn’s season, Scooby and Shaggy have stumbled upon an episode-changing clue. Fred and Daphne are probably tied up somewhere. A mummy is likely involved.
Mike Aresco is wearing the mask, and he’ll be on the podium for the trophy presentation in Hartford.
The Huskies just might pull it off.