Winners and Losers

Kia Nurse (11) dribbles up campus during the Huskies 94-64 victory over the Syracuse Orange at Gampel Pavilion on Monday, March 20, 2016. (Jackson Haigis/The Daily Campus)

With students back on campus following Spring Break, it's time to look at the winners and losers from the past week.

Winner: Kia Nurse

Leading the way to the sweet sixteen in the NCAA tournament, Nurse continues to be one of the top producers on this year’s UConn women's squad. In recent games, she has been hitting shots all across the court, finding openings constantly.

To kick off the NCAA tournament, Nurse scored 24 points in UConn’s rout of Albany. She followed this performance with a team-leading 29 points against Syracuse in the round of 32. Nurse knocked down nine three-pointers, tying an NCAA tournament record.

When Nurse is playing as well as she has in these past two games, the Huskies are especially unbeatable. Her point totals are nearly half of what other teams score as a whole in some games, making it impossible for other teams to keep up with UConn. Even when opponents play well, they cannot score as frequently as the Huskies can with players like Nurse scoring so often from long range.

UConn will need Nurse to keep firing with the games getting more competitive as they drive deeper into the tournament.

Winner: Xavier

The Musketeers finished the regular season in seventh in the Big East standings, last among each of their conference opponents that made the NCAA tournament. Despite this, they are one of only two Big East teams still alive in the tournament as they prepare for the sweet sixteen. Villanova, Seton Hall, Creighton, Marquette and Providence were all eliminated in the early rounds.

Xavier is also the lowest remaining seed in the tournament as an 11-seed. Facing the West region’s No. 2 seed, Arizona on Wednesday night will be a tough task but they have proven that they can play with anybody.                                     

Winner: Adam Jones

The underrated center fielder is showing glimpses of an American hero in this year’s World Baseball Classic. Representing the United States, Jones has been a leader on a relatively young team.

Facing the Dominican Republic, Jones robbed Manny Machado of a home run to center field leaping high above the wall and stretching to make the catch. Not only did this propel the United States into the semifinals for the tournament, but it also denied his teammate in Baltimore of a home run.

Pictures of the catch are both memorable and iconic, with fans making all sorts of crazy faces in the background from directly behind the wall. The play resonates so much that some believe Jones might even steal the “Captain America” nickname away from David Wright.                                                           

Loser: Syracuse

The Orange had a disappointing week on the basketball front. The men’s team was controversially denied a NCAA tournament bid, after making a Final Four run last year as a No. 10 seed. They were rejected despite wins against Duke, Florida State and Virginia. They also beat Wake Forest, who was chosen over them to play in the First Four.

The Syracuse women’s team also suffered as they were slotted into UConn’s portion of the bracket, making it difficult to advance very far. After defeating Iowa State, they were destroyed by UConn 94-64, ending their season. Having to play UConn gave Syracuse little hope of stringing any wins together.                                                   

Loser: Villanova

The hope for repeating as national champions died early for the Wildcats, as they fell in the round of 32 against Wisconsin.

As the No. 1 overall seed, this was a disappointing finish for the defending champs. The loss shows how difficult it can be to repeat in such a long, unpredictable tournament.

It also supports the trend of conference tournament winners struggling in the NCAA tournament. Ironically, Villanova lost the Big East tournament final against Seton Hall in 2016, before going on to win the National Championship. This year, everything worked out in the opposite way.


Dylan Barrett is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus.  He can be reached via email at dylan.barrett@uconn.edu.