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UConn men’s basketball ranked No. 24 in AP Preseason Poll

The Huskies are ranked in the preseason poll for the first time in five years.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The Associated Press released its annual preseason poll Monday, with UConn men’s basketball coming in at No. 24, receiving 161 votes. Gonzaga ranks No. 1 after receiving 55 of 63 possible No. 1 votes.

This marks the first time UConn has been ranked in the AP Preseason Poll since 2016, when the Huskies were No. 18. That team went on to finish 16-17 in a season that was Kevin Ollie’s second-to-last as head coach.

The Huskies join Villanova (No. 4) as the only Big East schools ranked in the preseason AP Poll. Two other Big East schools — Xavier and St. John’s — received votes.

Outside of the three Big East, four of UConn’s potential future opponents were either ranked or received votes. Auburn, who the Huskies will face in the Bahamas as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Nov. 24, is ranked No. 22. If UConn reaches the championship game, they could take on No. 8 Baylor, a Syracuse team that received votes, or Arizona State or VCU.

UConn will also take on No. 23 St. Bonaventure on Dec. 11 in Newark, New Jersey as part of the Never Forget Tribute Classic.

While the Huskies return plenty of talent from last year’s NCAA Tournament team and bring in a top-10 recruiting class, UConn did lose star guard James Bouknight to the NBA. Without Bouknight being able to shoulder the offensive load, Dan Hurley expects this year’s team to be deeper and more balanced, and the hope is that at least one of the talented freshmen — Samson Johnson, Rahsool Diggins, Corey Floyd and Jordan Hawkins — can emerge as a viable rotation option as the season goes on.

Either way, this is a good sign for the growth and progress of the program under Dan Hurley. The KenPom rankings also came out over the weekend, with UConn coming in at 21st.