The No. 7 seed UConn Huskies (26-8) are back in the Big Dance, and they'll play their first meaningful game in March in more than two years on Thursday night in Buffalo. They're taking on the dangerous No. 10 seed St. Joseph's Hawks (24-9) in the second round of the East Region.
The Huskies, who dropped the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament finals to Louisville on Saturday, are considered something of a sleeper pick in the East Region. They are led by a pair of guards—Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright—who, when hot, are as good as any tandem in the nation.
But the Huskies didn't receive any favors from the selection committee in this matchup.
The Hawks, who entered championship week firmly on the bubble, left nothing to chance, capturing the Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship with a 65-61 victory over Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday.
With the automatic bid in its back pocket, St. Joseph's didn't need to sweat it out on Selection Sunday. The Hawks definitely have the stuff to not only make this a game but make the Huskies' return to March Madness a short stay.
In a game that's likely to be this close, everything matters, and the team that wins will be the one that executes.
Here are the X-factors that will determine who has the edge and who advances to a likely rivalry match with No. 2 seed Villanova in the third round.