When you work from home you tend to have arguments with yourself. That's what I've been doing for the last 15ish hours or so. Basically since Jay Wright told us the Collin Gillespie injury was serious:
The short answer is yes. I do think UConn is now the favorite to win the Big East Tournament even if the glorious Barstool Sportsbook still has them with the 3rd best odds:
Here's the main reason why:
James Bouknight is THAT good. He should be a lottery pick in the NBA Draft. We saw how UConn struggled and how they looked with him out. I'm not exactly breaking anything here that he's probably the most talented player in the Big East and if he was healthy would be a likely All-American (probably 3rd team). He's averaging 20 and 6 in his 11 games. Shit, he's playing over 30 minutes a game too which is just as important. You want advanced stats? He's 24th in the country in possession percentage, 32nd in shot percentage and 46th in fouls drawn per 40 minutes. Why do I say those? Those are stats that are important in a Tournament setting. You have a guy that you can just give the ball too and let him create a bucket. He's efficient in that way too.
Speaking just of the Big East Tournament, UConn is going to be the 3 seed. I actually would like them more if they were the 4th seed with Gillespie likely done for the year. They will have to beat Creighton, but they match up well against them. They lost by 2 in overtime at home and by 8 on the road in a game that Bouknight didn't play. They take away the 3pt line which is huge against Creighton. The other thing is they don't need a ton of guys to crash the offensive glass so they can get back in transition. Plus there's the whole UConn at MSG thing. I'm well aware, you're well aware. Here's Kemba:
It's been pretty fucking impressive what Hurley has done this year. I was a bit skeptical that they'd come into the Big East in year 1 and just be successful. It's not like they were dominating the AAC and this was a step up in competition. Sure, the Big East is down this year and that helps. But UConn still has to win games. He's mixed the lineups correctly using Sanogo at the 5 and then mixing and matching Polley, Whaley and Martin. He can go big. He can play a bit smaller using Whaley at the 5.
They aren't even a bubble team. Seton Hall is a legit bubble team, UConn is not. They currently are a 10 seed on BracketMatrix, but I could easily see them jumping as high as a 7 over the next week. They are 25 on KenPom, 33 on the NET. The only thing holding them back is being 3-3 in both Quad 1 and Quad 2 games. That can change though. So congrats UConn fans, you're back this year. Honestly, college basketball is better when UConn is relevant so in a year where every big name seems to suck, UConn is at least relevant. Just please no bullshit March run like 2014.