UConn women’s basketball starts their season on Sunday against Ohio State. Even with three critical players coming back, there’s still a lot up in the air about the Huskies. We got our staff together to see how well we could guess what unfolds on the court this year.
Total Losses: 2.5
Megan Gauer: Under. I think they’ll drop one or two of their toughest road games, at Baylor, Notre Dame or Louisville. To reach three losses, they would have to lose all of their top tier games or lose to someone else, and I don’t see that happening.
Ian Bethune: If you’re talking just talking regular season, under for sure. However, if you’re talking the full season including NCAA Tournament, I’d say over. Lack of depth is the culprit here.
Dan Madigan: Under. This team is still good enough to cruise through most of the regular season. The Huskies very well may lose to Notre Dame, but it’s hard to see a team with two All-Americans losing more than twice.
Daniel Connolly: Under. There’s only three teams on UConn’s schedule that can beat them in Notre Dame, Baylor and Louisville. I think they drop one of those games but I’d be surprised if they lose multiple in the regular season. A NCAA Tournament loss puts them at two losses.
Closest conference margin of victory: 10.5
Megan Gauer: Over. South Florida (ranked No. 22 in the preseason AP Poll) is UConn’s toughest competition in the conference. While the Bulls and especially star senior Kitija Laksa will try to give UConn some tough games, I don’t think they’ll keep it within 10.
Ian Bethune: Under. USF presents UConn with a challenge most of the time so I’d expect them to be the team to lose to UConn in single digits.
Madigan: Over. This conference is terrible. I don’t think the Huskies will get caught off guard like they did at Tulane a few years back. I definitely think USF will get UConn at some point, but my guess is that won’t happen until they meet for a third time of the season in conference tournament championship.
Connolly: Over. Nobody is in the same stratosphere as UConn except UCF, and the Huskies always seem to just destroy the Bulls at least once a year. I doubt any game will be that class.
Largest margin of victory: 81.5
Megan Gauer: Under. The Huskies’ bench is not very deep this year, which may force Geno to use some of the AAC blowouts to give the starters some rest. With less minutes from the starting five, UConn’s wins will still be dominate but likely not by the same margin as in previous years.
Ian Bethune: Under. For the same reasons as Megan. The bench isn’t what it normally is.
Madigan: This is a real margin of victory from last season, not a number we just made up. Just something to think about. They won’t beat anyone by that much this year though. That game was an anomaly. There will be a few 50 burgers like always though. That’s a lock.
Connolly: 81 points was the margin of victory against Wichita State last season, one of the most throughout beat-downs I’ve seen from the Huskies. They seem to catch fire in a special way a few times a year, so let’s have fun and say over. GIVE ME 100.
Napheesa Collier Rebounds Per Game: 8.5 (Last season: 7.2)
Megan Gauer: Over. Someone has to make up for losing Williams and Stevens on the glass, and Napheesa seems like the best candidate to do so. It’s also worth mentioning that she was over in her sophomore season when she averaged 9.1 rebounds per game.
Ian Bethune: Over. I also agree here with Megan. Pheesa has a knack down under to grab offensive rebounds and this is what will push her over an 8.5 average.
Madigan: Over. Ian and Megan nailed it here. Collier’s size and length makes her a force on the glass, and with Williams gone, there’s plenty more opportunities to haul in rebounds on both ends.
Connolly: Over. Collier’s much better without a player like Azura Stevens playing next to her.
Katie Lou Samuelson Points Per Game: 20.5 (Last season: 17.4)
Megan Gauer: Over. With the departure of Nurse and Williams, Lou will likely be taking more of the team’s shots this year. Last season she averaged 1.36 points per scoring attempt (6th in the nation), so it shouldn’t take her many more shots to exceed 20 points per game.
Ian Bethune: Over. The scoring burden is on Lou and fellow senior Napheesa Collier this year. I think both will average around 21-22 points per game.
Madigan. Under, barely. I think Samuelson is going to have a monster senior season, but contributions from Collier, Walker and Crystal Dangerfield will keep her under 20 points per game for the year.
Connolly: Over. I think Samuelson’s ankle injury limited her more than she or the team will ever admit. Now that she’s healthy, the sky is the limit for the senior.
Number of players that average over 15 minutes per game: 7.5
Megan Gauer: Under. Last season the Huskies barely had seven players averaging over 15 minutes (Walker averaged 15.5). I’ll be surprised if more than six players pass that mark this year. I expect that Olivia Nelson-Ododa will come off the bench for significant minutes, especially later in the season once she has some more experience. Hopefully, someone else will also step-up off the bench and prove me wrong.
Ian Bethune: Under. As of right now, the UConn bench looks to be one player deep with Olivia Nelson-Ododa. The only way for bench to have three players over 15 minutes per game is for Batouly Camara and Mikayla Coombs to contribute significantly.
Madigan: Under. I have no stats to back this up, but I can’t really think of a season where Auriemma consistently used more than seven players. I don’t see that changing this year. Even with some young talent on the bench, someone will be the odd person out.
Connolly: Under. I just want it on the record I made these before the Vanguard game. I think the bench minutes go in this order, from most minutes to fewest:
- Olivia Nelson-Ododa
- Mikayla Coombs
- Kyla Irwin
- Batouly Camara
- Molly Bent
- Lexi Gordon
Camara moves up to No. 2 if she’s healthy, though.