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UConn men’s basketball picked to finish sixth in AAC; Gilbert, Vital named to preseason all-conference second team

The AAC’s coaches aren’t expecting much out of the Huskies this season.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Expectations are low for UConn men’s basketball for its final season in the American Athletic Conference. The Huskies were picked to finish sixth in the conference’s preseason poll, the lowest they’ve been projected in the AAC’s seven-year history. The last two years, UConn was tabbed for fifth, the previous low.

However, head coach Dan Hurley doesn’t seem to have much of an issue with where his team was picked:

Alterique Gilbert and Christian Vital were both voted to the preseason all-conference second team. A surprising omission is Josh Carlton, who won the conference’s Most Improved Player away last season.

The Huskies have never finished higher than their preseason projection. Their highest finish was fourth place during the conference’s first season while last year’s ninth-place finish was its lowest.

Some other notes from media day:

  • The AAC appears to ready for its post-UConn age. While getting ready to take a photo with players from all the teams in the conference, the Huskies were curiously missing at first before eventually arriving.
  • Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway is open to adding UConn to its non-conference schedule in the future:

And Hurley certainly isn’t opposed to the idea either.

  • UConn’s contingent in Philly is on board with California bill that would allows NCAA athletes to make money off their likenesses and endorsements:
  • Elsewhere around the conference, Houston and Memphis were both picked to finish first in the conference, though the Cougars received more first-place votes. Cincinnati’s Jarren Cumberland was named Preseason Player of the Year while Memphis’ James Wiseman was tapped as Preseason Rookie of the Year.