The Providence Friars might have put a pin in UConn's NCAA tournament bubble after their 72-70 win at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The home team Friars rallied back from a 14 point deficit with 12:30 remaining, using a 19-2 run to take the lead for good. Bryce Cotton and LaDontae Henton made 5 three pointers apiece for the Friars, finishing with 22 points and 18 points respectively.
Gerard Coleman added 13 points while Vincent Council dished out 11 assists for a Friars team that has all of their main pieces returning next season. With top rated freshman Kris Dunn in attendance and joined as class headliner with Ricardo Ledo, the Friars should improve on this years 15-15 mark. Meanwhile, they may play spoiler to a team with huge pre-season expectations.
After winning the NCAA tournament behind scintillating lead guard Kemba Walker, UConn had incredibly high hopes even with his entrance into the draft. With the late addition of big man Andre Drummond, along with the returning promise in Jeremy Lamb, Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi, many thought Connecticut would be the team to beat in the Big East. As things have gone, they are currently 7-10 in conference and fighting for their NCAA tournament lives.
The team has been 3-5 without head coach Jim Calhoun on the sidelines, though to be fair they are only 3-9 in their last 12 games. Andre Drummond had only 2 of his 14 points in the second half. To make matters worse, he was called for a technical foul against Providence that ended up having obvious consequences on the final score. Drummond also finished with 12 rebounds, including an offensive board that gave Jeremy Lamb a decent shot at the win.
Connecticut's issue seems to be leadership and at times a lack of effort. Everyone has suffered wild inconsistencies and there seems to be very little to rely on. This seems to be a guard oriented team that has a difficult time involving the bigger bodies. They have really never come to a happy medium, which could end up costing them a spot in this years tournament. With next years NCAA tournament in doubt, Connecticut better find some motivation or they may have to wait until 2014 for another chance at the NCAA crown.