During his three seasons at Connecticut, Kemba Walker had no shortage of memorable moments. He was a part of two teams that went to the Final Four and two teams that won over 30 games. As a junior during the 2010-11 campaign, Walker led the country in scoring, which helped him earn All-American honors and ultimately set himself up to be a top-10 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. But there’s no question that Walker’s best March Madness moment and highlight of his collegiate career was the set of 11 games that concluded his illustrious college career.
Walker and the Huskies lost four of their last five games to finish the regular season 21-9 and 9-9 in Big East play. UConn headed to Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament in a massive slump and in desperate need of wins just to make it to the NCAA Tournament. That’s when Walker began to play like a man possessed. He scored 26 points in a win over DePaul, 28 points in a win over Georgetown, and 24 points in a win over no. 3 Pitt.
Those three wins were more than enough to secure an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. But by then, Walker was too hot to cool down. In the Big East Tournament semifinals against rival Syracuse, Walker contributed 33 points, 12 rebounds, and six steals in an overtime win. A tired Walker was limited to a mere 19 points in the final against Louisville but still carried the Huskies to victory, becoming the first team to win five games in five days at the Big East Tournament.
As a no. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Walker continued to carry the Huskies on his back. Following a double-double against Bucknell in the opening round, Walker scored 33 points to lead UConn past Big East foe Cincinnati to reach the Sweet 16. His 36 points against Kawhi Leonard and San Diego State sent UConn to the Elite Eight, where Walker’s 20 points and seven assists were enough to help the Huskies eke out a 65-63 win over Arizona.
By the time Walker and the Huskies reached the Final Four, there was no doubt what would happen. UConn was arguably the hottest team in March Madness history, thanks primarily to the efforts of Walker. The Huskies needed 18 points and seven assists from Walker to edge Kentucky 56-55 in the national semifinal before scoring a comfortable win over Butler in the National Championship Game, concluding an 11-game run by Walker and Connecticut that may never be matched by any player or team.
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