It's Senior Night for Ryan Boatright.
Don't expect the 5-11 senior from Aurora, Illinois to get emotional about it. The flowers, framed jersey and standing ovation are nice. The national title ring last year is also nice.
What does Boatright want?
How about another ring, another banner and one last chance at the NCAAs.
Boatright will end his college career at Gampel tonight, but he didn't come back for those kinds of accolades. He came back for another chance at the NCAAs.
Boatright has had a mantra in recent weeks.
"I didn't come back for the NIT," Boatright's said repeatedly, including to reporters on Wednesday.
The Huskies are still on the outside looking in according to projections in nearly all places, but with three straight wins including a big win over SMU on Sunday, the Huskies have cracked the door open.
UConn is 17-11, 10-6 in conference with an RPI of 69. That's on the bubble, but out, but there is a way in.
UConn plays Memphis tonight and a win there, a win at Temple on Saturday and then a couple of wins in Hartford and the AAC tournament and the Huskies are looking good. There is of course a chance to win the conference tournament, which brings the automatic bid, and that would be aided by a win tonight.
UConn can clinch a top five finish in conference and at minimum a No. 5 seed and a first round bye. The Huskies would then only have to win three games in Hartford instead of showing up on Thursday for the first round as a six seed or lower. To do that, they must beat Memphis, which is in sixth place at 9-7.
Memphis beat UConn 77-72 last month, but will be playing today without Austin Nichols, who aggravated his ankle and is likely done for the year. Nichols is the only Tigers' player averaging in double figures.
UConn, on the other hand, has finally found some help for Boatright, who is a favorite for Player of the Year leading the conference in scoring at 17.7 per game. Daniel Hamilton is averaging 10.8 points per game and is one of the top rebounders in the conference at 7.6 per game. Amida Brimah ius averaging 10.4 ppg. while Rodney Purvis, fresh of a career-high 28 points, in averaging 10.5 per game.
The Huskies remain thin, Sam Cassell (foot) and Rakim Lubin (concussion) brings UConn down to eight functional players, but they've played well of late.
The Huskies are on the NCAA bubble right now and if it could win its final two regular season games and likely two more in the AAC tournament, could possibly get in even if it loses the championship game. The Huskies aren't thinking about that though.
Boatright and UConn control their own destiny. Win, and UConn is in. It's as simple as that.
the journey is almost over for Boatright after four chaotic, frustrating and ultimately satisfying years.
All that is missing from Boatright's resume is a March run to glory. It's March.
Memphis (17-12, 9-7 AAC)
UConn (17-11, 10-6)
|#10||Sam Cassell Jr.||18||2||15.1||3.9||27.6||1.3||0.9||0.5||0.0|