Everything surrounding this team told us they wouldn’t win the national championship, and yet they did. First of all, they lost their legendary coach in Jim Calhoun amidst recruiting violations and received a postseason ban. After that happened, the Huskies could have very easily seen their star Shabazz Napier transfer to another school, where he’d be able to win a national championship.
However, Kevin Ollie convinced him to stay. That in itself was an impressive accomplishment. Little did he know, it probably wouldn’t even rank on his top five accomplishments list after this season.
As a No. 7 seed, Connecticut could’ve easily lost to No. 10 seed St. Joseph’s in the first round of the tournament, and they almost did. Going into overtime, the Huskies survived and lived to fight another day. Somehow, they fought three more weeks and claimed the school’s second national championship in four years.
The Huskies weren’t chosen to join the ACC with the other former Big East powers and were relegated to the new AAC conference. After going 26-8 in the regular season, they went on an absolute tear and turned up their defense. That defense was good enough to go through six very good basketball teams and claim college basketball’s biggest prize.
Earlier in the season, coach Ollie brought the team to AT&T Stadium in order to show them where they could end up by the end of the season. Few thought the next time they would be there would be in the Final Four, and that they would be cutting down the nets after that as college basketball’s 2014 national champions.