Connecticut went into their game against West Virginia back in the NCAA Tournament conversation following wins over Villanova and Temple. But consistency has been a problem for the Huskies all season long, so it can be understood if some expected them to fall to West Virginia at the XL Center. A mediocre rebounding team for most of the season, the Huskies received a far better performance on the glass on Monday night, out-rebounding the Big East's best 37-33 in a 73-62 win.
In terms of NCAA Tournament importance there's really only one game you need to watch on Monday night. UConn hosts West Virginia with the opportunity to pick up one more resume-building victory at their fingertips. Just one week ago Jim Calhoun's team was given up for dead by many as a result of their loss to Cincinnati, a performance that Coach Calhoun described as "embarrassing".
As we get closer to March the games that take precedence are those with NCAA Tournament hopes on the line, and there will be no shortage of such contests on Saturday. Connecticut kicks things off in what's essentially an elimination game between the Huskies, who welcome back head coach Jim Calhoun, and Cincinnati at the XL Center. A pair of Lance Stephenson free throws decided the first meeting but neither he nor Deonta Vaughn has played well of late.
While UConn/Syracuse and Duke/North Carolina have been given the ESPN stage on Wednesday night neither one is the biggest game of the night. For that honor, look out west where UNLV hosts New Mexico in a game matching two of the three teams tied for first place in the Mountain West. The Lobos have won seven straight since losing 74-62 to the Runnin' Rebels back on January 9th, and in addition to the revenge angle Steve Alford's team needs the win to avoid losing out on an important tiebreaker.