With just three games left in the 2012-13 season there isn't time for adjustments or tweaks. Despite the 19-8 record that would've almost certainly guaranteed the Huskies a place in the NCAA Tournament, academic sanctions means that UConn, like us, will be watching March Madness from the couch. But we've been through this before, in painstaking detail. Yes, it's unfair. And yes, there's nothing the university can do about it.
But first-year coach Kevin Ollie has used a situation out of everyone's control as a motivational tool, a learning moment. He can speak to the minutiae of a certain play from a certain point in a game, but he can also provide a broader perspective with implications beyond one win or one loss. And the day after the double-overtime loss to Georgetown, Ollie offered just such a macro view of the season.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said via the Hartford Courant. "The reason here is to teach us another life lesson. … This is a wonderful team to coach, and I hate for it to be coming to an end after the next three games, but I wouldn't take [this experience] back for the world."
And then Ollie got to the particulars of a game that seemed out of reach with just three minutes before being eminently winnable in extra time. UConn's final chance at victory, a desperate three from a well-covered Ryan Boatright as time expired, fell harmlessly to the floor as the buzzer sounded.
"No, we weren't looking for that shot," Ollie said. "[Otto Porter] made the basket with [9.5 seconds left] and I didn't have a foul and Ryan got the ball. Like anything else, you want to push it, get it to the rim and see if we can get a rebound, get a kick-out, but Ryan got bottled up in the corner and he tried to make a play."
Boatright also took the final shot at the end of the first overtime, another tough look from beyond the arc that had little chance to go in. Replays showed a wide-open DeAndre Daniels under the basket on the play, but as ESPN play-by-play man Mike Patrick pointed out at the time, by the time Boatright had passed the ball inside to Daniels, time almost certainly would've expired. Either way, there's nothing anyone can do about it now.
"We've got to put it behind us and keep moving forward in life," said Daniels.