Five games. Five days straight.
That was the path Connecticut needed to take in order to win the 2011 Big East tournament. While an opening matchup against DePaul was pretty similar to having a first-round bye, the Huskies would have to play Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Louisville — schools they had a combined 1-4 record against during the regular season — along the way. Not great.
The good news for UConn was star point guard Kemba Walker, who had led the team with 23 points per game that year, would play even better in the tournament. Under the bright lights of Madison Square Garden, the future top-10 NBA draft pick hit shot after shot, scoring 130 points across the five contests to set a new tournament record. Add in contributions from Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier, and Alex Oriakhi, and the team headed into March Madness with just a little momentum.
Connecticut managed to do something no team had done before, and it’s likely no team will do again thanks to conference realignment. Regardless of your allegiances, you have to admit that for those five days, UConn was the best.