This season marks the final season for UConn plays before the start of the 2018-19 school year. Since UConn’s new-look program began back in 2013, the Huskies have played in six NCAAs — one more than any other team in the nation. Before this season, they will finish their stretch of road games on paper, but not in person. They will return home to face off against either Michigan State or Wisconsin — two nice old-fashioned road games that are sure to be packed with fans. So how can you stay ahead of the curve and keep up with all these crazy last-minute changes? Keep reading as we take a look at every last detail regarding Uconn’s play this season.
New Faces In UConn’s Schedule
A lot of people are going to be excited about the change of scenery at UConn, and rightfully so. The Huskies have been an elite Big East program for the last decade, and winning the NCAAD qualifiers last year was a solid sign to start the season with a home game against an SEC team. However, there are also a few new faces that are going to be welcomed by UConn fans — largely because they will be playing for the first time. Last season, UConn’s first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Will Barton, was freshmen wing Noel Kiepe at UConn. Kiepe was an immediate fan favorite, having the best summer of his life thanks to a great contract in New York. However, his arrival at UConn saw a lot of fans cheerlead for a player they would never see play in another sport. Not that Kiepe was a surprise, mind you — he was a stand-in for many of the newcomers that are going to spend some time on campus this season. In addition, there will also be some people who have been waiting for Noel to get his shot at playing hockey, basketball, or on the golf course — as well as perhaps a few others who have been dreaming of coming to the UConn campus for years. If you are one of these people, we have some exciting news for you! UConn will officially become the first Division I college to offer a full-time basketball and golf program this fall.
Teams Who Will Play
Last season, UConn played six road games — all against Atlantic Coast Conference schools — which were all against members of the same geographic region. This year, they will be playing seven games against teams in other regions of the United States, which should help ease any concerns that their travel schedule will be more than a little diffuse. Despite this, the Huskies will still be sharing the floor with the likes of Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, and UCLA, who all have home games this season.
Only three teams in history have won the women’s basketball national title alongside their male counterparts — the University of North Carolina, University of Oregon, and University of California, Berkeley. UConn has met all three of these teams in the Final Four, and it will be up to Kiepe, Marquess, and Kennedy to nail this historic performance. Kiepe, who will be playing for the first time in his career, will no doubt have a field day against UConn’s top players, including Kennedy, who will look to build off her semifinal performance last year by winning her first-ever national title with the UConn Huskies. At the other end of the spectrum, Marquess, who has been playing professionally in the fantasy world for the last few years, will look to use this season as a chance to show off what she can do on the court. Expectations will certainly be high for Marquess this season, but she will want to start the season on the right foot.
Final Four Move-In
Last season, the Final Four was pushed to an emotional, emotional finish when the participants in the event were forced to leave the court due to the death of one of their own. This year, the event will arrive without the players on either side of the aisle. This, of course, will be a lot more emotional for everyone but expect it to be far less emotional for the teams. Last season’s Final Four was one of the most emotional events in college basketball, as the participants from both the UConn and Michigan State teams lost one of their own within the opening round of play. This year’s Final Four, however, may not be as emotional as last season’s, partly because UConn will not be playing their first Final Four in their new venue — the XL Center in Las Vegas. This will be the first time that UConn has ever taken the court in a new setting, and they want to make sure it is an emotional occasion for the entire team.
If there was any doubt that Uconn’s 2018-19 record could be better than what we’ve seen in recent seasons, it’s gone away with the release of the updated statistics. The team is currently in a tie for first place in the Big East (as opposed to their usual position in the basement), and they have just a single game remaining to play in the regular season. The UConn team is off to a great start, but it’s not going to be long before they are on the right track. The team has notched up a record-setting 15 wins over their last 15 games, including the last four wins of conference play. They will likely challenge for a spot in the NCAA Elite Eight this season, and they will have plenty of motivation thanks to their position in the standings.
One of the many things that set Uconn apart from most other universities is the fact that they will have a full-time basketball team this season. This is not only a surprise to the basketball community, but it is a massive boost to the program, as it gives UConn a legit NBA player in Kiepe, who will be competing for the first time in her career, and a realistic chance at a national championship. The other one-and-done player on the list, Marquess, will be competing for the first time in her career in an organization that she has never been a part of before — the NBA. Both of these players will have a lot of motivation thanks to the fact that they are competing for the first time, and they will want to make sure they are ready for the role.
The 2018-19 season was one of the most exciting in school history. It was also filled with some significant changes that were likely not expected. However, through it all, Uconn basketball remained intact and secure, with consistent success on the court and off. The Huskies are one of two teams in the nation to have won back-to-back NCAAs and advance to the NCAA Final Four, while they also finished tied for third in the Big East with a strong finish. They certainly have the potential to be one of the best programs in the nation in the years to come, and that potential is reflected in the schedule for the 2019-20 school year.