College basketball fans will remember the 2010-11 season, if at all, for UConn winning its third national championship under coach Jim Calhoun. I’ll recall it as the year Kemba Walker won a championship with an, at best, supporting cast. Sure, guys stepped up for the Huskies here and there throughout the championship run, and Jeremy Lamb evolved into a solid #2 option by the end of the year. But as I watched the worst game in the history of
(the Final Four) (college) basketball, admittedly rooting against the Huskies, I thought to myself, is this the worst national championship team ever? I couldn’t recall a net-cutting squad that wouldn’t have run all over the Huskies, but I figured I’d let my Butler-induced frustration cool off and perhaps appreciate them in a few days. Well, I let a week pass, and I’ve made no progress. To illustrate my point, allow me to match the 2011 Huskies against some of their peers. In a 10 game set, 2011 UConn doesn’t win 3 against any of them.
2010 Duke – No chance. I know UConn advanced out of Duke’s region this year, but they did so with a very easy road that did not include Duke. I think 2011 Duke beats UConn at least 7 out of 10 games, and last year’s squad was even better. Remember, I turned in my Duke blue for Carolina blue almost 6 years ago. It pains me to applaud them like this…
2009 North Carolina – Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington (115 points in the tournament), Marcus Ginyard, Danny Green, Ty Lawson, Tyler Zeller, Deon Thompson, Bobby Frasor. They made Villanova (three pros, two soon-to-be) look like five Conor Murphys on an off night. Don’t be silly…
2008 Kansas – Mario Chalmers, Cole Aldrich, Darrell Arthur and Sherron Collins could beat 2011 UConn 4 vs 5.
* Note: the same applies to Memphis
2007 Florida – In 10 games, UConn might win one or two, but I’d be surprised. This team probably doesn’t get as much respect as it deserves. Joakim Noah, Al Horford (need I go on?), Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, and Lee Humphrey don’t lose against most NBA teams…
2006 Florida – See Above.
2005 North Carolina – Again, no chance. Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants, Marvin Williams, Jawad Williams would do horrible things to these Huskies.
2004 UConn – Great time to call it quits here! (Can’t give UConn credit).
Look, there’s just no way the Huskies win in any other year but 2011. Sure, they were the champions of the best conference in college basketball, but they also tied for 9th best in regular season conference play, winning only half their games. Don’t try to tell me that this was a dominant team that belongs in the same category with the above-listed teams. It was a year to forget in college basketball. And while this might seem like my way of earning emotional revenge on behalf of Butler, there’s another way to look at it: UConn massively overachieved, while almost every other team did the opposite (Bulter, VCU excepted). So, yes, I’m taking shots at the talent level of the roster, but I give Calhoun and his players the utmost credit for going out there and winning in a tournament that seemed to otherwise consist only of losers.