Column: UConn men back in tournament after 2013 ban
Last March, the Huskies could only sit idly on the sidelines as 64 other teams battled it out to decide who would reign supreme in college basketball. That was last year; UConn is back in the tournament once again.
The last time the Huskies competed in the postseason was 2012 under Jim Calhoun. After Calhoun's retirement, his understudy Kevin Ollie took control of the team and now must face the pressure of leading his team through the first postseason. But then again when has pressure ever gotten to Ollie before?
You couldn't ask for a better guy at the helm then Ollie. He has led this program from a team that was banned from the postseason for NCAA violations to a team that is relevant again on the national stage. Ollie has brought energy back into the program that not even the great Calhoun could do. All season long the "Olliewood" faithful have showed up to support the team.
The Huskies head into the post season with a 24-7 overall record with some impressive victories against Top-25 opponents. Who could forget the 65-64 win over Florida on Dec. 2 when senior guard, Shabazz Napier drained a last-second jumper to send the Huskies into the locker room victorious.
UConn also defeated Memphis, a perennial tournament team on the road and at home.
The Huskies, however, have their fair share of tough losses as well, including two to SMU and a loss at home to Stanford.
While I am excited to see the white and blue back on the hardwood this March, I just don't see this team cutting down the nets in Dallas. This Huskies team brings a lot to the table, but when their stars like Napier and Ryan Boatright shoot cold, the results are disastrous for UConn. For example, in their second loss to SMU, Napier and Boatright combined to shoot 8-for-28 during the game.
If I had to give an honest prediction, I could see this team making it to the Sweet 16 or Elite 8.
Anything can happen in the tournament, a perfect example is in 2011 when the team that nobody believed in won it all off the spectacular play of a guy named Kemba Walker, perhaps you've heard of him.
Can Napier be this year's version of Walker? Time will only tell, but if anybody can do, it's Napier. After he hit the game-winning clutch shot against Florida, Napier told the media that growing up he wanted to be Superman and that everyone needs a hero. In order for the Huskies to find any success in the tournament, UConn will need its "Superman."
With the conference tournaments well underway, some teams will make the "big dance" for the first time, while others will have their March Madness dreams shattered. For the Huskies, it almost feels like the first time once again. Nobody is certain where this team will end up when the madness finally settles, but one thing for sure is that fans across UConn country are glad the boys of early spring are finally back.
Follow Tyler on Twitter @TylerRMorrissey
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