Can UConn Repeat?
The Connecticut Huskies lost a difficult game Sunday afternoon to the 7th ranked Texas Longhorns, 55-54. Jonathan Holmes led the Longhorns with 13 points on the afternoon including the game-winning three pointer with just two seconds remaining in the game. Holmes added eight rebounds in the affair as Texas was able to hold on to win by one point, despite their six point halftime lead.
Ryan Boatright led the Huskies with 24 points, as well as seven rebounds and two assists. The senior guard is one of the best holdovers from this past season during which the Huskies won the national championship. He was one of just two players with double-digit points on the day with freshman Daniel Hamilton adding thirteen points.
The matchup with Texas was the most expensive game of the season for UConn tickets as the average price was $183 for tickets to Gampel Pavilion. The most expensive game remaining on the secondary market for UConn men’s basketball tickets is currently the December 22nd date with the Duke Blue Devils. The average ticket price is $148 with a get-in price of $63. Only two home game for UConn have an average ticket price above $100: March 1st against SMU (average ticket price is $118 with a get-in of $28) and March 5th against Memphis (average ticket price is $116 and get-in of $49.)
If the Huskies are to have any opportunity to repeat as national champions in 2014-15 it will be behind the lead play of Ryan Boatright, but he will need help from several new contributors. Hamilton is one of those potential players that can assist Boatright. The talented swingman has exceptional ability getting to the hope and is an incredibly difficult matchup for most college defenders.
Transfer from N.C. State Rodney Purvis is also expected to be a major contributor for this Huskies team. The All-American recruit had to wait patiently on the sidelines as Shabazz Napier and others led the Huskies through the entire NCAA Tourney last season, but he is ready to be a major player this year. Currently dealing with a minor ankle injury, Purvis missed the Longhorns game and had he been participating, the game may have ended quite differently.
Amidah Brimah returns as the best big man on the team, though he struggled mightily against Texas. Brimah had just four points and two rebounds in the game, though he did add three blocks. The big man has an extremely raw offensive game but is a game changer on the defensive side of the ball. If he can fine-tune his offense over the course of the season, Brimah has the potential to be one of the best big men in college basketball this year and in future seasons.
Perhaps the biggest factor in why the Huskies may repeat is because of head coach Kevin Ollie. After spurning several NBA suitors during the offseason, Ollie returned to Storrs for just his third season as head coach. He clearly has the ability to coach up many of these young potential stars and his ability to recruit seems to be very strong as well with the recent addition of Hamilton and other talented newcomers. If the players buy in this year, there is no telling how far Ollie can take them.