Ladies and gentlemen, it's time.
For two long years we have waited for this day. For two long years we have sat and watched as the pillars that have held up UConn basketball for the past 30 years began to crumble around us. When UConn was unceremoniously bounced by Iowa State in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, I don't think any of us could have fathomed what was to come.
You all know the story, it's been told a thousand times over by now. UConn wasn't in the postseason last year because the NCAA decided to make an example of us and prove that "EDUCATION IS OUR TOP PRIORITY," naturally doing so while standing atop a podium of money and hypocrisy.
It almost feels like it's been longer, doesn't it? The 2012 team was such a disappointment that you almost forget they were even in the tournament. If you stop and think about it, what a miracle and a blessing 2011 really was, because if you take that season away, and what are you left with? Five years of disappointment swimming amidst a sea of sanctions and destruction.
No, 2011 happened and nothing can ever take that season away from us, but even after Kevin Ollie's seamless transition following Jim Calhoun's retirement, it feels like the country needs another reminder that UConn is still one of the top programs in the nation.
So lets give them one. New coach, new conference, new logo, no problem.
By disrespecting UConn and The American as a whole, the selection committee actually handed the Huskies a golden opportunity to make some serious noise and remind everybody who the top dogs in college basketball are.
Yes, the Huskies are a No. 7 seed, but look at the cards they've been dealt in their region. St. Joe's is a quality but beatable first round opponent, and barring some kind of catastrophe I'm confident the Huskies can beat them tonight. After that, they'll likely face the No. 2 seed Villanova in the Round of 32, and have you ever seen a less threatening No. 2 seed than Villanova? I mean, yeah, they won a lot of games and beat some good teams, but my lord, how can you call yourself a contender when you got annihilated by Creighton twice and then lost to Seton F'ing Hall in the Fake Big East Tournament?
Where's the juggernaut after that? Iowa State would obviously be a likely and problematic Sweet Sixteen matchup, but they also lost seven games in the Big 12, including a 25-point loss to West Virginia. Michigan State is on a roll now, but they weren't exactly a model of consistency in Big Ten play, and Virginia is a great team, but they're not a death sentence like Arizona would be.
Plus, if UConn can get past Villanova, they'd be playing in MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. You know what happened at Madison Square Garden? This.
And of course, this.
If that's not enough to get you pumped up then I don't know what else to tell you! This is it people, March Madness is here! We've got Shabazz Napier! We've got Niels Giffey! We've got Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels and the Amida Brimah block party! We've got Kevin Ollie and his eternal well of inspiring quotes prowling the sidelines, and we've got Jim Calhoun sitting right behind him exuding his typical aura of excellence.
The long wait is over people, now lets do this thing!