The UConn Huskies look to become the first program since the Florida Gators in 2006-07 to repeat as NCAA Tournament champions.
Head coach: Dan Hurley (14th season, 6th at UConn)
2022-23 record: 31-8 (13-7)
2023 postseason finish: Won National Championship
Notable departures: Adama Sanogo (NBA), Jordan Hawkins (NBA), Andre Jackson (NBA), Joey Calcaterra (Graduated), Nahiem Alleyne (Transferred to St. John’s)
Notable non-conference games: vs. Indiana (Nov. 19, at MSG), vs. Louisville OR Texas (Nov. 20, at MSG), at Kansas (Dec. 1), vs. North Carolina (Dec. 5, at MSG), at Gonzaga (Dec. 15, in Seattle)
PG: Tristen Newton (6-5, 195, Gr.-Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 10.1 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.5 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 36.6 3P%, 37.4 FG%
SG: Cam Spencer (6-4, 205, Gr.-Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 13.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.1 APG, 2.0 SPG, 43.4 3P% (Rutgers)
SF: Stephon Castle (6-6, 215, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 10 rated recruit
PF: Alex Karaban (6-8, 220, Rs.-So.)
2022-23 stats: 9.3 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.7 APG, 40.2 3P%
C: Donovan Clingan (7-2, 280, So.)
2022-23 stats: 6.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 0.5 APG, 1.8 BPG, 65.5 FG%
6: Hassan Diarra (6-2, 190, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 2.1 PPG, 1.8 APG, 1.3 RPG, 30.1 FG%
7: Jaylin Stewart (6-7, 205, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 66 rated recruit
8: Solomon Ball (6-3, 185, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 45 rated recruit
9: Samson Johnson (6-10, 225, Jr.)
2022-23 stats: 0.9 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.1 APG, 12 games played
10: Youssouf Singare (6-10, 220, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 143 rated recruit
11: Jayden Ross (6-7, 195, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 81 rated recruit
UConn Huskies MVP: Donovan Clingan
“Cling Kong” as they call him, will not blow you away with outstanding post moves and is still working on developing a shot. But the nickname fits well because, in the paint, there are few players – arguably none in the Big East – who have the physicality to slow down Clingan’s presence.
While Clingan’s freshman stats won’t blow you away, he only played 13.1 MPG. His per-40 numbers? 21.1 PPG, 17.1 RPG, and 5.5 BPG. As a starter and anchor of this UConn Huskies team, Clingan’s minutes should double and then some, making for one of the biggest statistical leaps in the country.
Clingan missed the last few weeks with a foot injury, so that is something to monitor. But at full health, the chance for Clingan to be dominant is very high.
UConn Huskies make-or-break player: Hassan Diarra
The only bench player with any sort of valuable experience, Hassan Diarra needs to be a leader in more than one way this year.
For one, the bench needs a go-to guy to look to. Diarra needs to step up and be ready to help a freshman-heavy bench adjust to Big East basketball.
More than that, Diarra must also take on more of a scoring role. As the season goes on, Stewart and Ball may surpass Diarra on the depth chart, but at the start, he can set the tone for expectations and help turn a thin bench into an asset for coach Hurley
Key analytic: 3P%
3P% has been a statistic of focus for many teams in our CBBRank countdown, and the UConn Huskies may fit the bill better than any other team out there.
While Clingan’s size is what teams look to most, the Huskies are a deadly team from three if you don’t prepare correctly. Last season alone, Spencer and Karaban both connected on over 40% of their three-point shots. Newton was just under 37%. Even though the Huskies lost Jordan Hawkins and Joey Calcaterra, they have three deadeye shooters from long distance.
If a few of the freshmen can also join in on the three-point barrage, the Huskies may have one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Clingan + three-point snipers is must-see basketball.
UConn Huskies 2023-24 projections
Projected conference finish: 1st in the Big East
Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament Champions