Whether it is the mark of a champion who is now the team of destiny or a team that only barely cares and just does enough to survive, Conneticut once again pulled out a victory last night that maybe they should have lost against the Washington Huskies. Like the Gonzaga game on Thursday night, Washington had numerous opportunities to end the game, and found a way to whiff on all of them. Most blatantly, up 7 with a minute and a half to go, they got a rebound of a missed UCONN shot that ends the game if they hold on….a turnover happens…UCONN scores and cuts it to 5. Then they have a possession where UCONN curiously decides not to foul….any basket on this possession and the game is over. They miss and UCONN gets the ball.
Then, most bizarrely, UCONN makes what (to me) is a poor choice and goes for two instead of three (have to go for three down five with 30 seconds left in my opinion). Washington then fouls….FOULS, giving UCONN a shot to cut it to two. Two possessions and threes later, and we are in overtime and Washington is done.
I agree with Doug Gottlieb (which never happens) that this UCONN team is amazingly unlikeable. They only occasionally try. With the exception of Marcus Williams, they never hustle. Their players mope around and let vastly inferior talent (hello Bobby Perry) just run by them. It is not the brand for your traditional champion. But they win, and I guess that is what matters.
You would like to say this will catch up to them. But does anyone really believe George Mason will make them pay? Their Final 4 matchup will be a doozy, whether it be against Villanova or Florida. My guess is Florida, but then UCONN likely just pays a slightly inferior version of themselves and then wins. And then the finals will likely be against Texas and even these Huskies can get up for the national championship. But if this happens, Washington will have to look back at the opportunities blown in this game. UCONN should not be in the final 8….and they have Marcus Williams and Washington’s mistakes to thank for them beating the odds and actually making it.