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TheOpenThread: Pittsburgh Panthers vs. UConn Huskies


Well, here we are, the last day of the regular season. I won't pretend it's been a fun one, or that it's turning out exactly like we all expected, but it's not over yet. Remarkably there is still a decent chance UConn will find itself in the NCAA tournament in two weeks, and as we all know, as long as you make the tournament, anything can happen.

I've thought a lot about how this season could have been different. It's hard not to think that having Jim Calhoun on the bench could have impacted the way the team played, especially in the last two UConn games, both two-point losses that could have easily been flipped into the "W" column. Or you can picture a scenario where the NCAA didn't jerk Ryan Boatright around and he was available for games against UCF, Cincinnati and Tennessee (three games lost by a total of 11 points). Those differences certainly would not have lifted UConn up to its lofty preseason expectations, but a little stability could have made a big difference for this young squad.

That's in the past though, and we'd be better served by focusing on the future, which, I admit, I'm not entirely pessimistic about. Jim Calhoun, the one and only, isn't sure if he's going to coach today (UPDATE: he's coaching) , but c'mon, I think we all know Jim Calhoun is going to coach today. He showed up at practice yesterday, in theory because he was going to "observe it," but all reports indicate that he did what we'd expect and coach it. Here's how he described staying away:

"I just couldn't stay home any longer," Calhoun, appearing a bit weary, his voice hoarse, said. "I didn't know what I was going to do. I was going to come in (Thursday), but physically I just couldn't do it. More fatigue than anything else."

So yeah, I think he'll be there today, which is great, because a win against Pitt is essential.

UConn's seemingly unkillable chance to make the NCAA tournament could finally expire with a loss today. Even with a win the Huskies are in some trouble, especially with regard to the Big East tournament. As it stands right now, UConn would be the 10th seed in Madison Square Garden.

If they win, they also need USF to win (at home) against West Virginia, to move into the 9th seed. There may not sound like much of a difference between the 10th and 9th seed, but consider this: the 8th seed is probably going to be Seton Hall. The 7th seed is definitely Louisville. Between the two, I'd much rather play Seton Hall on Wednesday. And yes, the Huskies can still earn a single-bye for next week, but that would require DePaul beating Seton Hall tonight, so don't hold your breath.

It's also senior day today. There are no scholarship seniors on the roster, but walk-ons Kyle Bailey and P.J. Cochrane will both have their last game at Gampel Pavilion. There is also a good chance that this is the last time we'll see Andre Drummond, Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriakhi in Storrs, especially if UConn is kept out of next year's tournament.

The game tips at noon from Gampel Pavilion. ESPN has your TV coverage. This is your OpenThread, join us in the comments below (and enjoy what's after the jump). Go Huskies.