The Hurley Era of UConn men’s basketball has started off without missing a beat.
That’s not saying much, as the Huskies have taken down the likes of Morehead State and University of Kansas at Missouri. But they’ve beaten them handily, avoiding any colossal Wagner-like disasters that ruin a season before it’s really even began.
Jalen Adams and company are about to get a dose of reality. The Huskies could possibly have two top-15 opponents on the schedule this week. They are slated to take on No. 15 Syracuse Thursday and with a win they will probably see No. 13 Oregon. Iowa is also a possibility for Friday. The Hawkeyes are currently ranked the 38th best team in the nation according to KenPom.
Now I understand expectations are high in Dan Hurley’s first year at the helm. But even the most delusional of fans need to go into the tournament at Madison Square Garden with the realization the Huskies might go winless in their two games.
And you know what? That might be okay.
We’re going to find out a lot about what kind of team this year’s squad is, win or lose. The first game this season lacked a ‘killer instinct’ as the Huskies failed to truly put away Morehead State. This was acknowledged by Hurley post-game and the Huskies came out flying against UKMBC and never took their collective foot off the petal.
That’s all well and good but what happens when this team finds itself down by 10, 15 points? What happens when MSG is deafening after Syracuse fires off back-to-back 3s while the UConn offense can’t break through the famed 2-3 zone?
Sure, there’s a chance we could see the same team from the PK80 Tournament last year. That team was content with beating Oregon before dismal displays against Michigan State (77-57 loss) and Arkansas (102-67 loss).
Or, we could see the team that closed out Syracuse in MSG just a few years ago at the Garden. We could see the type of effort we expect out of a Dan Hurley-coached squad. There’s no doubt this team has talent, but with consistent effort and energy, the sky might be the limit.
Keep your eyes on more than just the scoreboard this weekend, there’s a lot to be seen.