Commentary

Connecticut's resurgence

Updated: February 24, 2010, 5:10 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

There is no question that Connecticut is back in the hunt for an NCAA berth. And I am talking about Jim Calhoun's squad, baby! Geno Auriemma's is looking like a national champion already.

The Huskies got a couple of big time W's to get back in the picture, winning at Villanova and knocking off another top-10 team, West Virginia. This is a club that has clearly responded to a Hall of Fame coach and his motivational ability.

[+] EnlargeJim Calhoun
AP Photo/Mel EvansEven after a medical leave of absence, Calhoun gets fired up about his squad.

Connecticut was embarrassed in its first game with Calhoun back on the sidelines. When Cincinnati won at UConn, a lot of people thought it was over for them. They were all saying that the Huskies had no shot at a Big Dance bid. Well, as Lee Corso would say, not so fast my friends!

They have responded in a positive way. Cincinnati should not have won that easily at UConn. Since then, the Huskies have looked like a different team and there is no doubt this is one of the best 65 teams in America. But will Calhoun's club be in the top 34 at-large choices if they do not win the Big East tournament?

Trust me, come tournament time, Connecticut will be a pain in the neck for a highly-ranked opponent. Kemba Walker and Jerome Dyson are one of the most talented backcourt tandems in America. Stanley Robinson is a special factor thanks to his great athleticism and he did a super job on the boards against the Mountaineers.

Gavin Edwards provides an inside presence off of the bench. Whenever you have four players capable of scoring, you are dangerous. Connecticut is a team that plays tenacious defense, and the intensity level has climbed in recent weeks. That sense of urgency is needed as the Huskies make a run at the Big Dance.

You would not have believed that was possible a few weeks ago. With Louisville, Notre Dame and South Florida still on the schedule, Connecticut cannot afford to let up.

Keep an eye on the Huskies during this final stretch. It is important to play good basketball while making an impression on the NCAA selection committee.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.