In a spectacular role reversal, perennial Big East title contender Connecticut is steamrolling through February as the ultimate spoiler. UConn, ineligible for the postseason due to a substandard Academic Progress Rate, is fighting for the only title it can possibly attain—a first-place finish in the regular season conference standings.
The Huskies have enjoyed success against the Big East's best teams, highlighted by a 66-58 victory over Syracuse in the final scheduled meeting between longtime conference rivals. Under the guidance of Kevin Ollie, a former Connecticut player and current head coach, UConn has won five of its last six conference contests, sits just one game back of first place and continues to prove that pride is an immeasurable motivator.
Despite a defined destiny that falls short of March Madness, the Huskies continue to wreak havoc on the Big East landscape. Though we already know UConn won't be the team celebrating at midcourt at Madison Square Garden after the conference championship, Ollie's feisty squad is certainly doing its part to impact the title chase every step of the way.
So what makes Connecticut such a tough opponent for tourney-bound teams? Let's take a moment to examine how the Huskies are shaking things up atop the Big East totem pole.