Connecticut Huskies Defeat Cincinnati Bearcats, Show Why They're Tournament Sleepers

By Taylor Sturm
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The AAC has turned into one of the more surprising leagues in college basketball, as early favorites, the Memphis Tigers and Louisville Cardinals, have had a lot of competition from teams like the SMU Mustangs, Connecticut Huskies and Cincinnati Bearcats. With five teams in the AAC two or less games behind the conference leaders, the matchup between Cincinnati and Connecticut was essential for both teams.

Both teams shot poorly and only Connecticut’s Shabazz Napier, who had 18 points, and Cincinnati’s Sean Kirkpatrick, who had 16 points, scored into double-digits. Napier’s double-double was enough to help hold off the No. 11 Bearcats, as UConn defeated Cincinnati 51-45.

So after wins against Cincinnati, the Florida Gators and Memphis, twice, are the Huskies a legitimate threat to win the National Championship? The answer is yes.

UConn has something that only the best college basketball teams have, which is an elite point guard. Not only is Napier elite, but he’s the best in the country. In the win against Cincinnati, he was really the only player to get going for Connecticut throughout crucial periods of the game. He’s the spark that keeps the Huskies going against good teams and will be down the stretch.

Connecticut isn’t the type of team to go on a Kemba Walker-induced National Championship run like they did a few seasons ago, but they are the type of team that is one or two players stepping up away from pulling off major tournament upsets. UConn isn’t a powerhouse this season, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous going into March.

Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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