Big East Championship Game: Why UConn Will Win
I know I’m suggesting the impossible, but I believe the UConn Huskies will knock off Louisville tonight and win the Big East Title. Yes, I know no team has ever won the 5 games in 5 days, to win the Big East crown, but the Huskies have the talent to do so. Here are their keys to the game and why they will end up victorious in the Garden tonight.
1. ‘Dance with the girl who brung ya’:
For the Huskies that ‘girl’ is there star point guard Kemba Walker. Walker who carried this team on his back for the majority of the season, has been spectacular thus far in the Big East Tournament. He’s shown an improvement from his regular season numbers across the board during this tournament. And that includes three games against ranked opponents. He has missed just 6 of his 45 free throws and has never had less than 24 points in a game. Walker’s game with only ’24’ came against top seeded Pittsburgh, a game in which Walker’s 23 and 24 points won the game on a final second shot. The Huskies need to run their offense through Walker and let his natural talent and leadership ability take over. Walker is an NBA talent and shows pretty advanced court awareness. Coach Calhoun needs to just put the ball in his star’s hands and let him go to work.
2. Secondary Talent Needs To Come Up Big:
While Walker does the heavy lifting and is the guy who’s hands you want the ball in for a final second shot, the Huskies will need their secondary players to step up to win this game. F-C Alex Oriakhi, G-F Jeremy Lamb, and G Shabazz Napier are the three players who need to really pick up where Walker leaves off. Much of Louisville’s defense is likely to focus on Walker, so the other three need to feed off of that and take advantage of their opportunities. The best part about the trio is they compliment each other so well. Oriakhi does the dirty work underneath the basket. He controls the glass and is a good interior option. Lamb has the quickness of a guard, but he is long enough to cover most SF’s in college basketball, and helps out a fair bit on the glass. Napier on the other hand is an extremely fast guard, that the Huskies can run their offense through. While he is still raw, his quickness makes him deadly in transition and his ability from behind the arc makes him a threat to score from anywhere.
Conclusion and Prediction:
While I like Louisville and think they are an extremely talented team, I don’t think they have an answer for Walker. And if they can’t shut down Walker, they have no chance as UConn’s other starters have all become solid offensive weapons. They still need Walker to take the pressure off of them, but they have the talent where if Louisville gets caught paying too much attention on Walker, they will make them pay. It’s an improbable run of 5 games in 5 days, the last 4 of which will come against ranked teams, but I think the Huskies will do it.
Huskies win 77-74