Oh, hello again DePaul. Hello Madison Square Garden. Hello noon game on Tuesday. This all seems so... so.... familiar. And so it is, because the similarities to last year are there if you want to look for them. Of course, the differences are there too, you know, little things like the lack of Kemba Walker, the fact that this team has never quite clicked and these Huskies, if they were to somehow win five games in five days, would have to do something they haven't done all season: win three Big East games in a row.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves, because first and foremost the Huskies are faced with a DePaul Blue Demons squad that is coming off the best game it has played in years. Tiebreaker implications meant that I actually watched DePaul thrash Seton Hall 86-58 on Saturday and if the DePaul plays like that UConn will be in a lot of trouble. Of course, DePaul is DePaul because they've never played like that two games in a row, but there's a first time for everything.
Today would be a uniquely bad time for DePaul to finally piece everything together because UConn's NCAA tournament hopes are resting on a very fragile bubble. It's not that the Huskies haven't done enough to get in -- they almost certainly have -- it's that a loss to DePaul is so bad (it dropped Seton Hall's RPI by more than 10 spots) that it could singlehandedly destroy UConn's postseason hopes.
This UConn team still isn't great, but seemingly for the first time this year it knows that it will have both its coach and its full roster going forward, and that might just count for something. At least I hope it does, because we call it March Madness for a reason. Anything can happen and as long as the Huskies keep winning they'll stay alive.
Last year they said winning five games in five days was impossible. This year we know that's not true, but it doesn't make the task any easier. Here's hoping lightning can strike twice.
The game tips at noon on ESPN. This is your OpenThread. Join us in the comments below. Go Huskies.