If the Connecticut Huskies are to repeat as Big East Tournament champions, they'll have to do it the hard way... again.
Last season, UConn became the first team in college basketball history to win five games in five days en route to winning a conference tournament. The momentum carried over into the NCAA tournament, when the Huskies won six more games consecutively for a national title.
[THE HUSKIES BEGIN THEIR TITLE DEFENSE TUESDAY AT NOON: FULL BIG EAST TOURNAMENT BRACKET HERE]
The Huskies -- who are currently a No. 10 seed in SB Nation's Bracketology projections -- failed to land a bye in the Big East tournament again this season, and will need to repeat last year's historical feat to conquer Madison Square Garden for the second straight year.
Nobody expects a similar run from this year's team. Without Kemba Walker, UConn has struggled to find an offensive identity. Despite possessing a stable of talent, the Huskies dropped nine of their final 13 games as they dealt with Jim Calhoun's leave of absence and a difficult Big East schedule.
Calhoun returned Saturday as UConn concluded the regular season with a 74-65 victory against Pittsburgh. Now, the coach can only hope one thing: that there's enough pixie dust remaining from last year's magical run.
For more on the Big East Tournament, follow this SB Nation Boston StoryStream. Meanwhile, SB Nation's blog The UConn Blog has everything on the Huskies, while Big East Coast Bias is all about the Big East.