UConn enters Selection Sunday playing its best ball in months, quite possibly its best of the season.
The Huskies endured a pretty brutal regular season to make the NCAA tournament (at least we’re 99 percent sure). In the end, that’s all that matters. As we learned last year, anything can happen in the postseason.
Now, am I saying UConn is going to the Final Four? Probably not.
To this point, all UConn has proved is that it can lose to a great team by two or three points. But the Huskies can hang with anyone, and if they make a few extra plays (or the high-seed makes a few extra mistakes), it’s possible they win some games in the tournament.
Here’s the story of their rocky regular season and a closer look at the ups-and-downs:
High point: Looking back, UConn’s best win was probably against Florida State in the Battle 4 Atlantis consolation game. I’ll still go with the win over Notre Dame on the road, though. The Huskies got production from Andre Drummond, Alex Oriakhi and Roscoe Smith as Ryan Boatright sat out.
Low point: (tie) The late-season loss to Providence was horrible for two reasons: UConn led by 14 and, at the time, it really, really needed a win. The other low-point was the Louisville loss, which was just an utter disaster in the second half. UConn trailed by as many as 30.
MVP: Jeremy Lamb. He hasn’t been UConn’s best player at all times — Boatright and Shabazz Napier have also had their moments — but Lamb has been the most consistent.
Best individual performance: Shabazz Napier vs. West Virginia. Nine points in 1:29 was simply amazing. Also clinched UConn an NCAA bid.
X-Factor: When Shabazz Napier scores 20+ points, UConn is 8-2. When he scores less than 10, they’re 8-7. And when he scores between 10-19, UConn is just 2-4. Go figure.
Most improved: This may sound dumb, but it’s Alex Oriakhi. He really struggled early in the year and had trouble adjusting to playing with Andre Drummond. Oriakhi is peaking at the right time. He seems more comfortable alongside Drummond and he’s using his massive frame to out-muscle guys on the low-block. He’s blocking a ton of shots, too.
Check back later for Selection Sunday updates.