With a week off between games and postseason play right around the corner, it’s time to look ahead at what’s coming for the UConn men’s basketball team. The Huskies sit at No. 20 in the AP Poll, No. 6 in KenPom and boast a 19-7 record overall with an 8-7 record in the Big East. After a strong start to the season that included 14-straight wins, UConn struggled in January, losing five of eight. They’ve rebounded nicely so far in February, picking up a dominant win over then-No. 10 Marquette before losing a tight one to then-No. 23 Creighton on the road.
Even with the Marquette and Creighton games in the rearview mirror, UConn still can bolster its NCAA resumé with a strong finish in its final five regular season games. The Huskies are projected by KenPom to win all five games left this season, which includes Seton Hall on Saturday, Feb. 18 at home, followed by another home tilt against Providence on Feb. 22. A win over one (or both) those schools would likely give UConn a seeding boost come March, while losses in any of their final three games (at St. John’s, home vs. DePaul, at Villanova) could torpedo where it stands on Selection Sunday. But make no mistake, the Huskies are a virtual lock to make the Big Dance for the third-straight season, and currently have single-digit seeding across the board according to bracketology “experts.”
What Vegas is saying
According to our good friends at DraftKings, UConn currently sits at +2000 to win the NCAA Tournament, the sixth-best odds of any school. Houston (+700) is the favorite, followed by Alabama and Purdue (+900), Kansas (+1200) and Arizona (+1400). Odds for other
Two other schools, Tennessee and Baylor, share +2000 odds to cut down the nets in April with UConn. Compared to all the schools mentioned above, the Huskies rank higher than all but Houston, Alabama and Purdue in KenPom. Outside of the Huskies, DraftKings has some other Big East schools in a similar range with Creighton (+3000), Xavier (+3500) and Marquette (+4000) all listed in the top-20 best odds. Providence (+8000), Villanova (+30000), and Seton Hall (+40000) are also listed. More NCAA Tournament winner odds can be found here.
UConn’s NCAA Tournament Resume
Record: 19-7 overall, 8-7 Big East
KenPom ranking: No. 6 overall, No. 11 in adjusted offensive efficiency, No. 19 in adjusted defensive efficiency
NET ranking: No. 8
Quality wins (Quad 1 wins): Alabama (neutral), Iowa State (neutral), Oklahoma State (home), Florida (away), (Creighton (home), Marquette (home)
Bad losses (Quad 3 or worse): St. John’s (home)
Aside from the loss to St. John’s, the Huskies’ only Quad 3 or 4 defeat this year, UConn’s resumé looks pretty solid. The wins over Alabama, Iowa State and Creighton in particular seem to get better by the day. As of now, UConn has no more Quad 1 opportunities on its regular season schedule, but Saturday’s matchup against Seton Hall kicks off a string of three Quad 2 games. Winning at least two or sweeping all three contests could be enough to bump the Huskies up to a 4-seed or higher heading into the final week of the regular season.
Updates current as of Feb. 15
ESPN: Joe Lunardi cannot make up his mind on where to put UConn. The bracket on ESPN.com, last updated Feb. 14 at 9 a.m. at the time of this writing, has the Huskies as a 5-seed in the East Region, taking on No. 12 Kent State. Three hours later on Twitter, Lunardi has UConn as the No. 13 team on the S-Curve, meaning the Huskies are the top 4-seed one spot away from jumping up to a 3-seed. Pretty impressive considering UConn hasn’t played all week.
February 14, 2023
The Athletic ($): The Athletic updates their bracketology weekly each Friday, a more sane approach this early in the season but one that doesn’t yet account for the Huskies’ road loss to the Bluejays. They also have the Huskies as a 5-seed, this time in the Midwest Region taking on a dangerous No. 12 seed Oral Roberts. The Golden Eagles are no slouch, currently ranking No. 50 in KenPom and boasting one of the country’s best scorers in Max Abmas, who helped lead Oral Roberts to a Sweet 16 appearance in 2021. It’s way too early to worry about matchups, but if this is how the chips fell for UConn, this would be a borderline nightmare scenario.
CBS Sports: CBS Bracketologist Jerry Palm’s latest update from Tuesday also has UConn-Oral Roberts as the No. 5 vs. No. 12 matchup in the Midwest region, and like The Athletic, has Alabama as the region’s No. 1 seed. A matchup with the Golden Eagles is, as noted, less than ideal, but if the Huskies could escape with a win and get to the Sweet 16, it would likely take on the Crimson Tide, who UConn already beat earlier this season. Could the Huskies do it again?