As the title implies we will be taking a look at our Big East opponents and what they will be looking like heading into the coming season.
UConn had dropped off in recent years but started something of a resurgence last season. Their non-conference was interesting to say the least. They finished 9-3 and beat Florida early in the season. Thier losses were against X, Indiana and, quite surprisingly, Saint Joseph’s. At the start of February UConn was struggling. They had fallen to 11-10 and a disgusting 2-6 in the AAC. A win at Tulsa and an OT win over UC started an 8-2 run to end the season and finish 19-12. That final record isn’t stellar but it was the fact that UConn was all but dead in the water and brought themselves all the way back to contention.
There is a fair amount of hype around UConn returning to the Big East. One reason is because they are coming home. The other is that this team could be legitimately good. James Bouknight is the returning star who hit his stride in the back half of his freshman season and could be one of the best players in the Big East this season. Tyler Polley will return from injury that sidelined him for the second half of last season. Polley was one of UConn’s best players and shot 40% from 3. Akok Akok had a decent freshman season and used his insane athleticism to block and rebound at a good rate. His main issue was poor shooting but a year of work may have helped that. Isaiah Whaley, Jalen Gaffney and Brendan Adams fill out the returners.
RJ Cole comes in after a monster season at Howard and will partner with Bouknight in the backcourt. Cole can score in bunches but he can also distrbute the ball at a very good rate. Adama Sanogo comes in as a 6’9” (nice) freshman with incredible strength and athleticism. He should be able to survive in the paint but his touch around the rim isn’t the greatest. Andre Jackson is the highest rated UConn recruit of this class and is wing with good athleticism and speed. Jackson also comes in with the reputation as a very good defender who uses his length to disrupt opponents.
UConn certainly has the chance to make some noice in their first season back in the Big East. Their returners are very productive and their incoming players fill some holes and add more quality depth to the squad. Building off that incredible run to end last season UConn looks like they could be a force this season.