UCONN played two games this week from Monday, February 10th to Sunday February 16th. They lost a tough one on the road to SMU 79-75 and had a solid home win against the preseason-favorite Memphis Tigers 64-61. The freshman James Bouknight paced UCONN scorers once again, with 21 against SMU and 17 vs Memphis. Is the freshman Bouknight the next great guard to come from Storrs? And also, can this UCONN team be the next great cinderella story?
Loss @ SMU – February 12th
A good-old fashioned basketball game. It was physical, everyone wanted it and until the buzzer sounded, it really could have been anyone’s game. After a home-win against Cincinnati, a road win against the 17-6 Mustangs could have been crucial. UCONN led by as much as 7 in the 1st half, and SMU led by as much as 15 in the 2nd half. However, like I said it was physical, and Dan Hurley’s squad does not give up. They cut the lead to as little as two with less than 2 minutes to play. They had multiple chances to take the lead or tie the game, but just failed to do so. SMU’s ability to shoot over 55% from three in this one was ultimately the dagger and is the reason they were able to for the mean time put to rest why UCONN is not a cinderella.
Win Vs. Memphis – February 16th
This Memphis team was built around James Weisman. Early AP polls had them top 5 and they were even still ranked up and until about 4 weeks ago. Now, they must win most of their remaining games or even the AAC to go dancing in March. As for UCONN, they are a stalemate. They win some big games, lose some games they should win, and games they shouldn’t be in tease us up-n-till the end. Now they are right in the middle of the American and only winning the AAC could help them. Led by Senior Guard Christian Vital and Freshman Guard James Bouknight. Over the last four games, the duo is averaging just over 36 points together. This has led the team to a 3-1 record. VItal was clutch from the free-throw line all game (10/10) and Bouknight makes his shots when needed most.
Can Vital and Bouknight lead the Cinderella Story?
As I said just above the duo of Bouknight and Vital are averaging just over 36 points over their last 4 games. The team is 3-1 in their last 4 and need a miracle to be in the round of 64. But, as a fan of UCONN, I have seen crazier things before. I have seen Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier BOTH, twice lead their teams to National Championships. Help was needed, but they the go to guys. So, can a UCONN team that is 14-11 make a run? I say, why not? Bouknight has come out of his shell the past two months and Vital has been clutch all year. Those two will need help, but if they are both ON, this team can compete with anybody. And when I say compete with anybody, I don’t mean beat anybody, I mean compete and play the hardest basketball they can.
Looking Ahead for the Huskies
UCONN will travel to Temple on Thursday before heading back home next Sunday against South Florida. Right now, UCONN is playing for seeding in the AAC tourney in early March. UCONN is 5-7 in conference, but play two teams below them in the standings this week. With two winnable games on the schedule, UCONN has to win. With two wins this week, UCONN could be top 6 in the conference and continue to gain momentum for March and be the cinderella team I am hyping them up to be right now.
UCONN needs a lot of help and has to play well right now. But, this college basketball season has been quite crazy to say the least. UNC is below .500, San Diego State is undefeated and Penn State has a top 10 basketball school? So, why can’t UCONN be a cinderella team. Yes, they will need to go toe to toe against teams like Houston, SMU and Cincinnati to fulfill this dream, but like I said we have seen crazier before from this program.
Also, let’s pray for the freshman Akok Akok and hope he can make an impact in the late stages of this season!
Check back next Tuesday for this week’s recap and look ahead.
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