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The UConn Fast Break - 10/20/2021
First Night and Media Day mean basketball is close!
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Basketball, welcome back!
After losing to UMass and a close win over Yale, UConn football is in that all-too-familiar disappointing place. The future may be brighter once a new coach comes in but for now things are just bad, unfortunately.
What is not bad, and is in fact actually really great, is the approaching return of basketball season.
The move to the Big East has made hoops significantly more interesting and this year both the men’s and women’s teams offer plenty of intrigue for what this season could hold. Can Geno’s squad get back to the top of the mountain? Will Dan Hurley’s team improve for a fourth straight year?
First Night offered students the first live look at this year’s teams and a slew of stories are out after Media Day, which demonstrated the high hopes surrounding both hoops programs.
The women were first in the Big East preseason poll and all over the All-Big East preseason teams, while the men were picked to finish second and had two players named to All-Big East teams as well as an honorable mention.
This season is going to be absolutely electric.
UConn women’s basketball is deep and versatile - The Huskies have a lot of capable players that can fill a lot of different roles. Head coach Geno Auriemma has been preaching to his players that they need to be the best versions of themselves to help the team and not to put too much pressure on themselves.
UConn men’s basketball ranked No. 24 in AP Poll - The first time the Huskies have been ranked in the preseason in five years! UConn is also ranked 21st in KenPom.
UConn football takes down Yale - UConn football held off Yale’s comeback bid, nearly squandering a 21-0 lead, but held on for a 21-15 victory.
Takeaways from UConn football’s win - The outcome was in doubt until the final whistle, despite a big UConn football lead in the second half.
Football future opponents - Clemson and Syracuse went down to the wire in the Carrier Dome. MTSU had a bye week before this Friday’s game.
UConn men’s hockey swept in Columbus - After an encouraging split against then-No. 10 Boston University, the Huskies struggled against Ohio State, losing both games over the weekend.
UConn men’s soccer update - UConn men’s soccer picked up its first Big East win of the season, taking down Marquette.
Joe Biden visits Storrs - While not athletics related, it’s always big when the sitting president comes to campus. Biden was part of the re-dedication of the Dodd Center for Human Rights on Friday.
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Tre Wortham had quite the afternoon for UConn football, grabbing two impressive interceptions against Yale.
Seven years ago this week, #icebus was born.
UConn men’s hockey was playing its first-ever Hockey East contest, visiting Merrimack at Lawler Rink in North Andover, Massachusetts. As the Huskies were wont to do back in the infancy of their Hockey East membership, they would be outshot by a significant margin but rely on the tremendous goaltending of Rob Nichols after getting a lead. This game was no different, as UConn was outshot 35-9 over the final two periods.
The hashtag has since taken on a life of its own, appearing in the team’s Twitter bio and even in the form of a hockey-themed bus on campus.
UConn, Great Pic
Here are a few of our own Ian Bethune’s best shots from Friday night’s First Night festivities.
These shots feature a couple of freshmen we hope to see making an impact for their respective teams this year in Jordan Hawkins and Azzi Fudd.
You would be excused for missing it, but a whole new wave of conference realignment has gone down over the past few months. The Big 12 is losing Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC, and in turn added three top AAC teams plus BYU, leading everyone from the MWC to the MAC to begin exploring their potential options.
These events highlight the good timing of UConn’s move to the Big East, announced two years ago and executed last summer. If UConn had remained in the AAC, the school would most likely be exploring this very same move, only two years later and with a lot less leverage.
Football independence is not ideal, but it’s a decent place for the program to rehabilitate itself into something decent while also giving regional recruits and fans a slate of games that they’re more interested in than before. Having all the other sports in the Big East just makes a lot more sense and has already been a huge boon for the basketball programs.
It feels so, so good not to care about the musical chairs being played around us. UConn is on stable footing with the Big East because it took control of its own destiny instead of reacting to the moves of others.
For context, the AAC failed to attract any takers from the MWC to make up for the loss of Cincinnati, UCF, and Houston, and now this is happening…
Yikes. Adding any combination of those schools would also be a disaster for the AAC’s basketball quality. The AAC is also going to take a huge haircut on its TV rights deal with ESPN after losing its four strongest brands.
The Big East, on the other hand, is thriving.
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