Big East tournament magic still alive for UConn

A year removed from last year’s historic five-games-in-five-nights run to the Big East tournament championship, the 2012 squad appears to be in the process of re-capturing some of that magic.
After UConn dispatched DePaul led by 25 points from sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb, it took out West Virginia in overtime, 71-67, with a second half comeback catapulted by Shabazz Napier and his 26-point effort.
It’s a new year and a new team but don’t tell the Connecticut Huskies that.
Since Jim Calhoun returned to the sidelines after a nine game hiatus due to back pain, the Huskies are 3-0 and playing with a renewed vigor that had been absent since the calendar turned to 2012.
The team began 11-1 with wins over Florida St. and Harvard, saw Napier notch a triple-double and Lamb throw down a vicious dunk against Columbia. Then 2012 came and the team’s play collapsed quicker than a wooden stool under announcer James Bates.
In January and February, UConn went just 6-10 while dealing with the absence of coach Calhoun and guard Ryan Boatright. The team suffered defeats to Rutgers, Seton Hall, Cincinnati, Tennessee and Louisville among others.
It was a puzzling downward spiral that seemed to leave every UConn fan in doubt of whether this team — talented enough to be ranked No. 4 preseason — was even capable of making it to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments let alone back-to-back NCAA championships.
Where was the efficient offense of last season? What happened to Napier’s solid play? Where was the team defense that carried the team to its third national championship? And perhaps most importantly, what was going on with preseason All-American Jeremy Lamb?
All of it had disappeared.
Yet, here we are. In New York City for the Big East tournament, with UConn now safely into the quarterfinals.
Since March of 2011, UConn is now 13-0 in postseason tournament play with one national championship. Can anybody knock this team out?


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