Anyone still doubting UConn now?

Yet, the Huskies won the rebounding war (28 to 27); the Huskies scored more points in the paint (36 to 24) and, most telling of all, the Huskies -- not the Gators -- threw out the blanket on defense.

Florida shot 38 percent for the game, coughed up 11 turnovers and managed a measly three assists on 19 made baskets. The Gators stormed out to a 16-4 lead and then ran into a brick wall padded with barbed wire.

"On offense, we really couldn't get anything going," Scottie Wilbekin said. "They were being really aggressive, and we couldn't really get into our offense."

So much of this season has been about Shabazz Napier and his offense. Deservedly, I might add. Without Napier's buckets and poise, the Huskies aren't here.

But Napier's heroics have overshadowed what has really made this team so good, especially lately.

It's the defense.

The seeds were planted back in October, even if the players couldn't quite understand what it was their coach was farming.

Kevin Ollie opened practiced without any basketballs, instead putting his players through boot camp conditioning drills that felt more like track practice than hoops.

"The first day of practice, I almost passed out," Terrence Samuel said. " Kentan Facey did. He like fell to the ground. Now I see why he wants us to be the best conditioned team out there."

The Huskies' ability to partner all that fitness with flat-out meanness on defense has now all but silenced two pretty good backcourts.

A week ago, they put Keith Appling and Travis Trice on a milk carton. This time, the APB is out for Wilbekin and Hill.

Together, the two Florida guards shot 4-of-15 and coughed up seven turnovers. Napier, Boatright and Samuel frustrated, and almost toyed with, them, flicking the ball away from behind, snatching it outright in front.

"We heard it over and over again: Michigan State, Madison Square Garden was a home-court advantage," Ollie said. "We shot 34 percent in the Garden. What kind of advantage is that? We live and die on defense. You have to recognize that. We play tenacious defense. We play relentless defense. It's not always perfect, but we're going to play 40 [minutes] full."

If all of this sounds familiar, well, it should.

Three years ago, UConn won five games in five nights to win the Big East tournament and rode that fury all the way to a national title.

No one expected much of those Huskies, either, but really, those Huskies were more likely than this version. Along with  Kemba Walker, that UConn team had Alex Oriakhi and  Jeremy Lamb, relatively established starters.

Aside from Napier and Boatright, this team is a combo platter of newbies and role players handling bumped-up responsibilities.

"I think the similarity is that, in both cases, everyone thought we were dead," said Niels Giffey, one of three players to play on both teams. "That's what we heard anyway."

UConn has heard a lot of stuff this season.

And most of it has been wrong.

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