A day-after-gameday look at UConn's NCAA Tournament resume. Read Part I here.
The quest continues.
Although they had to iron out a few problems in a first half that ended with just a three-point lead, the Huskies overcame a respectable start by the Scarlet Knights and the queasy odor in the RAC that only its natives can tolerate to pull out a 76-58 win.
How does this affect UConn's sojourn toward a golden dance ticket?
Record: 16-11, 6-8 Big East (T-9th)
Big wins: vs. Texas (88-74), at Villanova (84-75)
Bad losses: at Michigan (68-63), at Providence (81-66)
Vs. RPI 1-50: 4-6
Vs. RPI 51-100: 4-3
Vs. RPI 101-200: 6-2
Vs. RPI 150+: 6-0
Road record: 2-6
Last 12: 5-7
Scoring margin: +5.3
Games left: 4 (vs. WVU, L'Ville; at Notre Dame, USF)
Outlook: Aside from adding another road win to its awful record away from the friendly confines of Gampel/Morgue, beating Rutgers, the Nelson of the Big East, doesn't do much for the Huskies' postseason resume. Although the Scarlet Knights are better now than they were in the first three years under Hill, during which they won a total of eight conference games, Rutgers is still just 116 in RPI.
Still, it's another win for a team in desperate need of as many it can muster as it tries to string together enough of a late-season push to dupe the bracketologists.
And while UConn was TCB -- if you can't tell, I long for the days when slightly overweight 30-year-olds with fros and staches could shout out barely coherent things in front of giant rainbows -- South Florida, our conference compadre, was nice enough to lend a helping hand. The Bulls lost to St. John's by 16 in Tampa and may have forfeited not only its dancing card but also its stick of bubblicous. Although that surely won't please Bull Man, a USF super fan whom this blog has adored since its pre-corporate and even pre-actual blog days, it greatly helps the Huskies' quest, so says Bracketology 101:
The biggest beneficiary of South Florida's loss might be UConn, which blew out Rutgers 76-58 at the RAC on Saturday. The Huskies improved to 6-8 in conference with their win over the Scarlet Knights, and with the schedule they have left, they might have the best chance now of any Big East bubble team to snag an at-large bid. South Florida already stubbed its toe, Cincinnati has a brutal schedule remaining, and Seton Hall and Notre Dame have played their way out of the mix. Beating West Virginia on Monday night at the XL Center is obviously a must for UConn, and then the Huskies would have to sweep their last three games (vs. Louisville, at Notre Dame, at South Florida) to like their chances heading into the Big East tourney. It won't be easy for UConn, especially given their road woes this season, but they are clearly in the driver's seat with four games to play.
In or out?: Out, for now, but UConn's climbing quickly. Joe Lunadri has the Huskies back on his "Next Four Out" list, which means it's eight spots away from a Tourney berth, and a win Monday will almost certianly boost them back into the field.