The UConn men’s basketball team isn’t exactly coming into Thursday’s opening round matchup of the 2015 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament at the XL Center in Hartford, CT on the highest of notes.
After winning three straight games to get themselves into contention for a first-round bye, they saw a Shaq Goodwin jumper help the Memphis Tigers beat them. Then they came out flat in the second half against the Temple Owls and lost their halftime lead and the game.
Now if they want any chance of making the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and defending their crown, the UConn Huskies will need to win four straight games in four days to earn the American’s automatic bid.
Is it an impossible task? Can it be done?
For UConn to do it, head coach Kevin Ollie says the players will need to bring their ‘A’ game.
“Everybody has to play at a level 5 for us to win games,” Ollie said on a conference call on Monday. “We’re just not talented enough to have three guys playing at a level 5 and two guys not.”
“We have to have all five playing at a maximum effort each and every minute for us to do that.”
The win over SMU showed that the Huskies can play together and as a team. Then the losses to Memphis and Temple showed anything but that.
It’s the Jekyll and Hyde effect we’ve seen from them all season long. But now that needs to change.
“We’ve got to play together as a group, got to play unselfishly, got to play hard and compete and not just play together but for one another on the basketball court,” said Ollie. “Hopefully everyone understands that.”
UConn will have the advantage of playing on their home court. How many fans show up is another story.
“We have four games to win,” said Ollie. “Hopefully we’ll be able to go out and capture another championship for our great fanbase.”