Before the tournament is underway, I would like to pick a team I feel will take it all the way. My favorite, my selection, my squad.
That team is the Connecticut Huskies.
UConn went on a nine-game winning streak, that changed their season for the better. Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet, and A.J. Price were their best players during the streak and all season long.
They have been the reason UConn was, for a time, second in the Big East this season.
Thabeet has been a game-changer—a defensive eraser inside.
Adrien has been their workhorse, a menace on the offensive glass, and a thorn in the side of every opponent who has tried to defend him.
For those reasons, I cannot single-handedly name the Big East MVP. The 7'3", 263-pound sophomore, is primarily known for his defensive skills—specifically, his knack for blocking shots in a timely manner.
Thabeet has seven double-doubles on the year, three 20-point games, and three or more blocks in 25 out of 32 games this year (including 10 against Notre Dame).
He is second in the country with 4.4 blocks per game (Eloy Varnado, Mississippi State, 4.8), and is a big reason why Connecticut leads the NCAA with over eight blocks per game.
Adrien may not posses the defensive mindset that Hasheem does, but he brings heart and pure intensity to the hardwood. Adrien has recorded 15 double-doubles (which is almost half of the games they've played this year) and has put up four 20-plus point performances this year.
Adrien and Thabeet form one of the best forward-center tandems in all of college basketball.
The 6'7" Jeff Adrien has the wingspan the size of Thabeet, and recorded seven blocks against Morgan State in the first game of the season.Price has been nothing but clutch for UConn, nailing game-deciding basket after basket down the stretch for the team during their winning streak. He is a good rebounder for a player just 6'2" and 181 pounds.
There were seven games in which he had six or more rebounds this season, and he averages 14.9 points, 6 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game.
With a team like this, UConn will go far.
And, dare I say it, they'll win the NCAA Tournament.