Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I can’t remember another March like the one UConn had. They entered the month on a three game winning streak and then faced Pittsburgh in the regular season finale. They were able to contain Blair, but had no answer for Sam Young, who torched the Huskies.
They then entered the Big East Tournament against the upstart Orange and played what many fans considered the best game ever played. It had all the drama from a near buzzer beater that was overturned, to shot after shot after shot after shot that sent the game into 6 dramatic overtimes. All the stars shined and it came down to walk-ons and bench players to settle the game. But in the end UConn didn’t make their free throws to seal the deal and they lost.
No one knew what to expect from this team come NCAA tournament time. Many pundits had them as a two-seed, but they were awarded a top seed. That didn’t stop the talking heads from saying that they were the worst one-seed and the first to get ousted. Then Yahoo spoiled everything and reported on a possible agent-recruiting violation. It looked like the chips were stacked against this team. It didn’t matter and they came out like gangbusters, blowing away Chattanooga. Price was playing like a man possessed and Adrien hit shot after shot from the elbow to blow Texas A&M out of the water.
And just like everyone planned against Purdue, Craig Austrie found his shot and gave UConn the much needed jolt when Price and Adrien went cold offensively. Then in the Elite Eight the super freshman, Kemba Walker, was able to flash his speed and get to the rim to help stave off a very athletic Missouri team and send Connecticut to the Final Four.
The month of March has seen Robinson’s emergence as an offensive threat and the ability of this team to have a multitude of scorers that share the burden. The constant has been Thabeet’s and Adrien’s dirty work on the boards. Walker has shown to be a star, putting his best performance on the biggest of stages. March also has seen Austrie play his best ball of the year at the right time. It has all added up to a very well rounded and impressive squad. A team, no matter what happens in April, that we can all be proud of.