Even though it wasn’t always pretty, UConn men’s basketball held a solid lead for most of the contest in Saturday’s home win over Seton Hall. Dan Hurley’s squad holds a 20-7 record overall (9-7 Big East) heading into a home game against Providence on Wednesday.
Some thoughts after a gritty win.
See you Thursday afternoon
Aman: This win all but guarantees that UConn will be a 4- or 5-seed in the Big East Tournament, and thus playing at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday. Looking forward to seeing the crowds of Husky fans on Metro-North that day.
Shawn: It’s not the evening session on Thursday like last season, but pending disaster, the Huskies will avoid Wednesday at the Big East Tournament. Seton Hall stands a game back in the loss column and the Huskies would need to lose two games to fall behind the Pirates, since UConn owns the tiebreaker if Marquette wins the conference, which seems the likeliest scenario. KenPom gives Dan Hurley’s team a 77 percent chance or greater win each of its final four games.
Hawkins. So hot right now.
Aman: Jordan Hawkins has been ascending across the season to a point where we can confidently say he’s the man for UConn late in games and the reason they have a chance against anyone. The Maryland product has had five 20+ point games in his last seven and six of his last nine (nice).
The way he was assertive in attacking the basket and overcoming a cold shooting night from behind the arc is one of the most positive sights we’ve seen from the star guard all year. He still has some more 30-plus point games in him, I think, and UConn will need him to be that guy in order to make a run in the postseason.
Andre Jackson played how he should
Shawn: The shooting woes of Andre Jackson are well-documented. It still showed up with an 0-4 performance from beyond the arc. However, he was 5-6 on 2-pointers and took exclusively layups or dunks, with the only miss coming on what would have been one of the plays of the year. He attacked the rim and for a career-high 15 points, adding 10 rebounds and three assists with a block and a steal. That is the player that is incredibly dangerous and one of the most unique in the Big East. It’s not often a player his size attempts four dunks in a game, but driving and either getting fouled or making shots at the rim is where he’s at his best. When combined with his defense, the 0-4 on 3-pointers is barely a blip on the radar if he’s scoring 15 points in other ways.
UConn is good
Aman: Sorry to be controversial, but this is a good team. When you consider everything that has happened between the end of last season and today, things are going pretty great. You can be mad that this team lost focus after building a double-digit lead with six minutes left, or you can realize the reality of college kids playing sports. They won the game; they showed that they’re a cut above Seton Hall and the victory was well-earned. They crushed Marquette earlier, and if they can exact revenge against Providence at home and St. John’s in MSG, they’ll have the resume of a very good team. Nobody’s perfect in college basketball. This team has as good a shot as anyone in the Big East to make a run in March.
Shawn: Losing focus to the point that Seton Hall was able to get within six with just over a minute left wasn’t awesome, and neither was the nearly seven-minute stretch between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half without a field goal or taking just one shot in the last 3:36 with some dreadful possessions in that stretch. However, all of those things happened and UConn still won by nine despite just three Pirate fouls at the end and Adama Sanogo not being at 100% due to illness. While one would wish for more consistency, it’s still a very good team.