The USA Today preseason coaches poll has been released, and the UConn Huskies have come in at 19th. While that might seem like a solid ranking after a year in which the Huskies were suspended from postseason play, that low of a ranking does not do this team justice. The Huskies return their entire starting lineup and several key reserves, and they are hungry to make up for last year’s lost season.
Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and Omar Calhoun form one of the best backcourts in college basketball, and they each averaged double digit points last season. Forward DeAndre Daniels is back as well, and he has the potential to become a star this season. Daniels is a versatile scorer and matchup nightmare, and continued development from him could make UConn an elite team.
The Huskies lack size in the post, but Tyler Olander has already been reinstated from his brief suspension, and the team has high hopes for Philip Nolan and Kentan Dacey (if he’s eligible). Even with their lack of size, the UConn’s small ball lineup should be able to put a ton of pressure on opponents on both ends of the court.
The voting coaches may not recognize it, but UConn is going to be a team that challenges for the inaugural AAC championship and a high seed in the NCAA tournament. In fact, I don’t think there is a strong case for any of the teams from 11-18 to be ranked ahead of the Huskies. UConn certainly has some questions, but they are less severe than many of the issues facing the teams ranked ahead of them.
Of course, preseason polls are not particularly important, and things will change dramatically once was the season begins. However, expect UConn to be a team that quickly climbs the polls, and they could even be a top 10 team this season. They were arguably the most underrated team in the preseason poll, and they will soon be able to show why.
Catch the Huskies live and purchase your UConn Men’s Basketball tickets today to see if Connecticut can exceed its preseason expectations this year.