So the American Athletic Conference basketball tournament starts today in Hartford. My UConn Huskies are the 6th seed. They are probably not going to win.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “How can he say My UConn Huskies when he hasn’t written about them once all season?” Well, UConn hasn’t been what you would call “good” this season. Granted, it’s hard to win when two of your three best players go down for the season in the same week a few games in. But still, this season hasn’t been one to remember. But, it is March, as they say, and anything can happen.
I’m not going to sit here and say that they could get hot, win four straight games against teams they haven’t beaten all season, have to go to Dayton for a play-in game, then go on a surprise Final Four run out of nowhere. That would ruin my credibility. But, I’m not ruling it out, either. UConn basketball is like the anti-Falcons- They never die late in the season. I’ve seen it first hand: my freshman year in Storrs was the year Kemba dragged them to the title, then my senior year Shabazz Napier did the same (I know, I’m very #blessed when it comes to sports teams). Those teams weren’t that good, but the second they won two games in a row in the month of March other teams started pooping all over themselves they were so nervous. Even young Kawhi Leonard was flustered by the UConn jersey. Amazing what reputation can do.
They should beat South Florida tonight: it’s just about the only team they’ve beaten all year. After that, who knows? They’d most likely play Houston, Cincinnati, and SMU, three teams they have mental blocks against beating (I still can’t wrap my mind around the fact that SMU is so much better at basketball than we are. It makes no sense whatsoever. It’d be like if my movie beat a Holocaust movie for the Oscar. It shouldn’t happen). I’d almost rather they just lose right away. I don’t want to get my hopes up for the championship game only for them to score 50 points because they haven’t really had any kind of offensive system since before Kevin Ollie took over. But maybe they’d hold the opponent to 49. The good thing about being a pessimistic fan of great teams is that I’m emotionally prepared for every outcome. By halftime of the Super Bowl, I had already mentally moved on to baseball before getting dragged back in. So it wouldn’t surprise me if they laid an egg against South Florida. It also wouldn’t surprise me if they won the AAC and went on to knockout Duke. What will actually happen? They’ll lose in OT to Cincinnati after being up 10 in the first half.
But if, if, they do somehow make the NCAA tournament? It might be one of the greatest upsets of all time. I know the AAC isn’t exactly the ACC, but they still have some good teams. Under .500 teams don’t win major conference tournaments. If anyone can do it, though, it’s UConn playing at home. It would be shocking. Stunning, even. Would it be the most monumental upset ever? Probably not. After all, Cincy and SMU are both teams likely to have mental breakdowns against inferior teams and neither one is exactly 2012 Kentucky. But if they won the AAC and went deep in the NCAA tournament? Now we’re talking. Now you’ve got one of the most unexpected team performances ever. Or maybe it’d be another sign of the reckless greed and de-purification of the game of college basketball that the conference tournaments themselves represent. Kind of a toss up, if you ask me.