The 2010-11 Connecticut Huskies College Basketball team was definitely looking to have a bounce back year, after going 7-11 in the Big East, 18-16 overall, and missing the tournament for the first time in 2 years.
Senior Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics) would look to carry the team. With role players such as Jeremy Lamb (Indiana Pacers), Alex Oriakhi and Shabazz Napier (Washington Wizards) following his lead. Seven Freshman were also on the roster this year.
At the beginning of the season the Huskies were not included in the Sports Illustrated top 68, nowhere to be found, the team now had steam to propel them through the season.
After they proved themselves in the Maui Invitational, beating programs like Wichita State, Michigan State and Kentucky, they then rose to #9 in the Nation. At 5-0 with a bunch of non-conference games left, they were in a great spot.
Almost halfway through conference play, UCONN was sitting at #5 in the country, 17-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big East. With their only two losses coming at. No. 6 Pitt and at. No. 14 Notre Dame.
Then it all went downhill, as they dropped 7 out of their last 11 games. With 4 of their losses coming against ranked teams, it wasn’t good.
As the final standings for the Big East were as follows:
- Notre Dame
- St. John’s
- West Virginia
- Seton Hall
- South Florida
They rolled through the first two Big East tournament games, beating No. 16 DePaul 97-71, and No. 8 Georgetown 79-62.
The next game featured the infamous Kemba Walker step-back on Steven Adams (Oklahoma City Thunder) as they beat No. 1 Pittsburgh 76-74.
The next two would be close ones as they squeezed out wins vs. No. 4 Syracuse and No. 3 Louisville, and the Connecticut Huskies were your 2010-11 Big East Tournament Champions.
They went into the NCAA Tournament as a 3 seed in the West Region.
Winning their first three put them in the West Region final against No. 5 Arizona. Kemba Walker is electric now as he had been all season long. They got through the Wildcats, as a 3-ball at the buzzer did not fall, and they were on to the Final 4.
Houston was not ready for the Huskies, the 3 seed was ready to make some noise. And they did more than just noise. Then, they beat Kentucky by 1 to move onto the National Championship.
Butler was there and ready to play, but so was Kemba Walker and his squad. And they eventually took down Butler to cap off an amazing run, by winning 53-41.
That is the story of the 2010-11 “Cardiac Kemba” Championship run.
Photo: NBC Sports