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NCAA Basketball

Connecticut Huskies Moving up Big East Rankings Thanks to Guard Shabazz Napier

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

I’m sure most of you were so invested in the Super Bowl on Sunday that anything outside of the game, commercials and pregame coverage, was not involved during your television viewing pleasure. So naturally, things like the Connecticut Huskies barely getting by the South Florida Bulls are surely to be missed.

If you are a UConn fan, one that watched it that is, you came away from the game feeling troubled, but still optimistic, about the rest of the season. Especially because of the first half, where the Huskies were held to only five field goals. For the game, it wasn’t much better, as they shot a whopping 30 percent from the floor. But in troubled times a hero must arise, and thankfully for the Huskies, Shabazz Napier was more than ready to play Batman.

Napier scored 24 points, including three huge three-pointers in overtime, to help the offensively challenged Huskies improve to 15-5 on the season,and 5-3 in Big East Conference play. This isn’t new for Kevin Ollie’s squad, Napier has been a force to be reckoned with all season, averaging over 17 a game and helping UConn exceed many experts’ expectations in the post-Jim Calhoun era.

UConn’s schedule is rather favorable going forward (Thus the optimism), only scheduled to play two ranked teams (One twice) the rest of the way. Ollie must feel like the road to wearing the best male slippers in the land is one paved in gold. Along with the rest of the Big East teams packed in the middle, UConn looks like they are now the favorite to separate themselves from the pack. Theoretically, it’s highly possibly they end up having the third best in-conference record of the group but no lower than fifth.

I don’t know of many people who thought anything more that mediocrity was possible this year, but not only is it looking likely, the team is having all sorts of success. Ollie is making a case for Big East and National COY while Napier is making a late push for Big East POY. That is a lot of awards for a team that’s supposed to be in recovery mode after an end to the Calhoun era.

Joe covers the Catholic Seven for Rant Sports. For the love of Sam Cassell, follow Joe on the Twitter Machine @JosephNardone


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