Flashback to July 1, 2013 when the UConn Huskies were moving from the Big East to the American Athletic Conference (AAC). Now, 2,558 days later, the Huskies have come back to the Big East.
The Huskies have gotten backlash for re-joining the Big East, but Head Coach, Danny Hurley is using this to motivate himself and the team, “It’s definitely the biggest challenge for me but I think, you know, as a player or as a coach, you come to a place like UConn and into the basketball programs because you want to challenge yourself to see if you are truly elite. For me, it’s incredibly motivating. It’s something that is inspiring. For me to be responsible for uplifting a university or state, and knowing — having lived here for a couple of years now — knowing the pride that the state has in the Huskies, and my role in kind of helping the university in the state, I relish the opportunity. It’s an opportunity to do something special for a lot of people.”
𝙐𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙣 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙄𝙂 𝙀𝘼𝙎𝙏: 𝙉𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙛𝙚𝙚𝙡𝙨 𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩. pic.twitter.com/7iMRIaSy4L
— BIG EAST Conference (@BIGEAST) July 1, 2020
In the AAC, UConn was 142-98 (59%). Not only did they have a winning record, but UConn also won the national championship game in 2014. UConn was unranked most of the season after going 12-6 in AAC conference games. It was a Cinderella story for them; 7th seed in the East Region and upsetting the 1 seed Florida Gators, and then going on to beat the Kentucky Wildcats in the Championship game. March 11, 2016, Kevin Johnson from Cincinnati hits a go-ahead three with .8 seconds left to play in triple overtime. Then Jalen Adams heaves up a ¾ court shot to send the game into its 4th overtime. The Huskies won the game 104-97 in the AAC Tournament Quarterfinals.
The success for the men’s basketball team has predominantly come from the Big East; they won 3 out of their 4 NCAA Championships as a part of the conference. Looking back at some of the most memorable moments in Big East history, UConn was there for most of them. One of the greatest tournament runs in NCAA history came with Kemba Walker leading the Huskies through 11 straight wins to capture another NCAA Championship. From the killer stepback in the Big East Tournament to win the game, to taking down Kentucky in the Final Four, and then defeating Butler in the National Championship game.
UConn has made memories in both conferences, but it seems to be fitting that UConn returns back home to the Big East to be a part of their future.