Cardiac Hill Big East Basketball Preview: UConn Huskies

Jim McIsaac

The Big East preview continues today with the UConn Huskies

Returnees: Guard Shabazz Napier returns as UConn's leading scorer and sophomore Ryan Boatright should see starter minutes, if not starting altogether. But that's really it. UConn lost Andre Drummond and Jeremy Lamb to the NBA draft and Alex Oriakhi, Roscoe Smith and Michael Bradley to transfers due to an NCAA-imposed post-season ban.

The most notable departure however, is long-time head coach Jim Calhoun, who stepped down before the beginning of the season due to health issues. He's replaced by assistant Kevin Ollie, a man thought so high of by the athletic department that they signed him to a one-year deal.

Newcomers: With only 10 scholarships to give thanks the NCAA, UConn did an admirable job restocking their roster, all things considered. One-time Pitt recruiting target Omar Calhoun is expected to be an immediate scoring threat from the shooting guard position and was one of the top players out of New York City last year. UConn also added Holy Cross transfer R.J. Evans for backcourt depth. Forwards Phillip Nolan and Leon Tolksdorf round out their recruiting class, but I'm not sure we'll see a lot of either player this season.

Final Outlook: With only ten scholarship players, a post-season ban, and an interim head coach in all but title, UConn won't be the program we're used to seeing year-in and year-out. It's a shame that after so many legendary heavyweight battles between Pitt and UConn the past decade, Pitt's last regular season matchup with the Huskies will likely be so very "blah."

Obglitaory:

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics.

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