The Connecticut Huskies are the No. 3 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament, where they'll face 14th-seeded Bucknell in the first round. The Huskies made a surprise run through the Big East Tournament and beat Louisville in the championship game on Saturday, 69-66.
A five game gauntlet through the Big East tournament in the Garden isn't usually the best proving ground for a young team like Connecticut Huskies. Historically it's a near mathematical certainty some Big East beast is going to hang an L on you before you even get to the semifinals but when you're lead by the Michael Jordan of college hoops finishers, anything's possible.
It's important to note the manner in which UConn made its unprecedented title run including its exorcism of the zone defense demon that has haunted it during the regular season. Going into the tournament teams like Seton Hall, St. John's, and Syracuse have absolutely confounded the young Huskies with credible 2-3 zones. It makes sense considering the young Huskies have zero back-to-the-basket threats and a tendency to stand around and watch Kemba Walker do work. The scouting reports were clear on how to stop this squad.
However, in UConn's five game tourney run, they vanquished three credible zone teams in Georgetown, Syracuse and Louisville. Scouting reports are apparently made to be burnt if you're Jim Calhoun and your young pups are all grown up. Whether attacking 2-3, matchup, or box-and-one zones, this team seems to have matured in diagnosing and attacking whatever scheme confronts them.
Key wins: Pitt, Texas, Louisville, Syracuse
Key losses: Two close losses to Notre Dame and a Loss to Marquette tells me they may struggle against teams that spread the floor, especially with the front court.
Player to watch: Kemba Walker could be the best player in the country, but he's at his very best when Napier can get him off the ball to go to work running his defender through a labyrinth of screens.
For more NCAA Tournament coverage of the Connecticut Huskies, please visit The UCONN Blog.