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UConn men’s basketball lands 43rd in KenPom preseason rankings

The Huskies are fourth in a Big East that is shaping up to be highly competitive this year.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The UConn Huskies are ranked 43rd in Ken Pomeroy’s preseason college basketball rankings, their highest KenPom ranking since the start of the 2016-2017 season.

Dan Hurley’s squad is fourth in the Big East to start this season, behind Marquette (34th), Creighton (13th), and Villanova (4th). The lowest-ranked team in the conference is Georgetown, at 86th, just one spot ahead of DePaul. Another five teams sit between UConn and the bottom of the league: Seton Hall (50th), Butler (56th), Providence (63rd), Butler (65th), and St. John’s (72nd).

Pomeroy ranked the Big East the 4th-strongest conference in the country, behind the Big Ten, Big 12, and ACC.

Breaking down UConn’s overall ranking, the offense is ranked 33rd while the defense is ranked 52nd. The rankings do not include player information as of right now.

For those who are unfamiliar, Pomeroy’s rankings are designed to provide a tempo-free read of efficiency on both ends of the floor where the input is collected almost exclusively from box scores and boiled down to four attributes known as the Four Factors. These factors were briefly explained in this old article of ours:

Effective field goal percentage (eFG%) - this is the same as field goal percentage, except that three-pointers count as 1.5 made shots to account for the additional points earned.

Turnover percentage - turnovers divided by the number of possessions.

Offensive rebound percentage - offensive rebounds divided by offensive rebound opportunities, which is measured by offensive rebounds plus opponent’s defensive rebounds.

Free throw rate - measures a team’s ability to get to the free throw line: free throw attempts divided by field goal attempts.

These factors combine to form an offensive efficiency rating, and a defensive efficiency rating based on opponents’ performances in these factors. From there we get an overall rating.

The Huskies finished last year ranked 52nd, which was their best finish since the 2015-16 season. This year’s team returns every starter or key role player from that team besides Christian Vital and Alterique Gilbert.

Keep in mind, Tyrese Martin and RJ Cole are available from the transfer market to help fill that void. Not to mention, freshman Andre Jackson is expected to be an early contributor and many of last year’s underclassmen can take a step forward. Last year’s finish and this year’s improved preseason ranking are signs of progress for Dan Hurley’s rebuilding effort in Storrs.