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Well, that's all finished: South Florida 75, UConn 68

The Jerome Dyson-Stanley Robinson-Gavin Edwards troika sat on the bench for the last 16 minutes of UConn's 75-68 loss to South Florida today. Frankly, it might have been about 10 games too late for that tactic.

The NCAA Tournament hopes are done. Finished. Kaput. The words "NCAA Tournament" and "UConn" will not be used in the same sentence on this blog until April. UConn's not even a lock for an NIT home game at this point, having lost three winnable games against middling Big East teams in the final seven days of the season.

I don't think there can be any doubt now that UConn will be better off next year without Dyson and the suddenly-invisible Robinson. Their replacements performed admirably in cutting a 14-point USF lead down to two with 30 seconds left.

It's almost like the kids didn't have to worry about getting subbed and just went out and played basketball. My God, how refreshing.

Kemba Walker, Donnell Beverly, Darius Smith, Jamal Coombs-McDaniel, Alex Oriakhi, Charles Okwandu, Ater Majok: they can all be proud of their effort. And I'll be very happy to have them all around next year (along with hopefully some talented freshmen).

They were hungry, they showed some heart. They weren't quite good enough to overcome that deficit on the road today, but I already feel 90% better about the 2010-11 Huskies.

UConn drops to 17-14, just as they were in 2006-07. They'll be the 12th seed in the Big East tournament, just as they were in 2006-07. They'll get to play St. John's, the one team they actually can beat in Madison Square Garden, Tuesday afternoon. If Dyson doesn't play, I think I'll be OK with that. I'll be sadder to see Stanley and Gavin play their final game of any meaning Tuesday or Wednesday night, but I'd like to see how the kids will do for a full 40 minutes.

The seniors had their chance to finish in a nice way. Simply enough, they failed. It happens. We wish the seniors well, but their era at UConn, much like their Big Dance hopes, is over.

Long live Kemba.