The Connecticut Huskies season ended last yer before it ever got started. They were told before the season there would be no postseason due to the poor academics of their predecessors. So in the final season of the Big East, a conference the Huskies were so much a part of their success, UConn was just an afterthought. But, they were also supposed to be an also ran with a new head coach in Kevin Ollie, who was replacing the legendary Jim Calhoun, an a slew of young players.
The Huskies ended up doing pretty well, perhaps in part because they had no pressure. There was no Big East Tournament seedings or NCAA at-large bid to play for.
UConn was 20-10 and 10-8 in Ollie’s first season. They Beat the eventual Final Four team Syracuse Orange, Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Michigan State Spartans.
Now, UConn begins play next season in the new American Athletic Conference. The defending national champion Louisville Cardinals will be in the league for one season, but besides them, the biggest competition will be the Memphis Tigers, USF Bulls and Cincinnati Bearcats. The rest of the league like Memphis will be newcomers from Conference USA such as the the UCF Knights, Houston Cougars, SMU Mustangs and holdovers from the Big East such as Rutgers Scarlet Knights and Temple Owls.
This conference will not be a walk in the park. There are a lot of teams in it that will only get better with the upgrade in conferences. But the Huskies should be the best team in this league other than Louisville. So not only will they back in the NCAA Tournament, but they will be a high seed.
The Huskies will have Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and Deandre Daniels, all of who were considering entering the NBA Draft, coming back next year. This is huge as those three all averaged in double figures a year ago. Also Omar Calhoun also returns with his double figure average.
UConn also has a four-star power forward in Kentan Facey and three-star shooting guard Terrance Samuel coming in next season.
The Huskies should finish second in the AAC and we think they will ve a Sweet Sixteen team in the NCAA Tournament.