Long shot at NCAA at-large bid likely over for UConn men’s basketball

Connecticut’s Christian Vital reacts as a timeout is called in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Memphis, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

For a few weeks, the UConn Huskies looked like they might just run the table or at least make a reasonable case for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. However, on Feb. 22, UConn came down from playing on TRAPPIST-1 and fell back to Earth as it lost to Houston, 75-70.

The Huskies had been playing some of their best basketball as of late, winning seven of their last eight games all in-conference to climb up the standings. It appeared the streak had a good chance to continue on Wednesday after building up a 10-point cushion at the half. However, after using the second half in recent games for dramatic comebacks, the Huskies found themselves on the flipside this time as the Cougars roared back to earn a crucial win at home.

UConn let its game get away from it after halftime, shooting 46.7% in the first half and seeing that number dwindle to just 31.0% in the second stanza.

The Huskies are currently 14-3 overall and 9-6 in the American Athletic Conference. UConn faces two difficult opponents against No. 17/21 Southern Methodist University and No. 15/16 Cincinnati. Sandwiched in between these tough matchups is a winnable game at East Carolina on March 1. Should the Huskies take care of business against the Pirates, they will lock up an important first-round bye in the conference tournament.

While the Huskies are in decent position to make the NIT, head coach Kevin Ollie’s team will need to win the AAC Tournament if they want to go back to the Big Dance. While UConn turned a seemingly-over season last month into a run worth following, it will need to be perfect from here on out to earn that automatic bid. And while that’s pretty unlikely to happen, yes, I’m saying there’s a chance.

SportzEdge.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s