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UConn on Top After 14 Years

Growing up in Connecticut means you are a fan of the University of Connecticut’s (UConn) basketball team. Even now, as a college student in Rhode Island, I am rooting for UConn in the games against Providence. My dad still talks about UConn’s loss against Syracuse when they went to six overtimes in 2009. The love for UConn basketball runs deep in Connecticut, but it makes sense, as it is the proclaimed Basketball Capital of the World. Monday, January 15, 2024 was a big day for supporters of this team as the University of Connecticut was ranked #1 in the Week 11 Associated Press Poll for the first time in 14 years. 

Courtesy of @uconnmbb via Instagram

UConn, the reigning March Madness Champions and previously ranked #4 team in the Week 10 poll, had a big jump up to being the top dog this week and it came due to the wild number of upset losses from teams ranked in the top 5. Here’s what happened:

The Purdue Boilermakers were previously ranked #1, holding a 14-1 record, only losing to Northwestern early in the season. On January 9, 2024, fellow Big Ten opponent, unranked Nebraska, came in hot, beating Purdue 88-72. After this loss, The Boilermakers dropped a spot to #2

The University of Houston, previously ranked #2, held a 14-0 record and faced their first loss of the season. They also lost to an unranked team, similar to Purdue, losing a close game against Iowa State 57-53. Houston was knocked to the #5 spot in Week 11. 

Kansas University Jayhawks who were sitting at #3 faced an upset loss to yet another unranked team. With a record of 13-1, The Jayhawks fell to the University of Central Florida 65-60. Kansas remains ranked at #3 this week. 

To cap off the craziness, previously ranked #5 Tennessee lost to an unranked team as well. The final score was 77-72 with Mississippi State claiming the victory. This loss dropped Tennessee to #6 and handed them their fourth loss of the season.

In the midst of the hectic week with 4 of 5 of the top teams losing to unranked opponents, UConn prevailed and was able to keep fellow Big East opponents Xavier and Georgetown at bay. The Huskies defeated Xavier 80-75 followed by Georgetown 80-67. These two wins were crucial in keeping UConn in the top 5, but propelled them into the #1 spot. 

As previously mentioned, UConn has been out of the #1 spot in the AP Poll since 2009, when they last were able to hold the spot for four weeks. That year, the Huskies reached the Final Four in the March Madness Tournament, ending their run in a loss to Michigan State. UConn is looking for a repeat of last year and hoping to make a long run in the 2024 March Madness Tournament. 

Courtesy of @uconnmbb via Instagram

Now, the University of Connecticut cannot be called the Basketball Capital of the World because of one team. The UConn women’s team is also a force to be reckoned with, and has recently been hitting their groove. The Huskies are back in top 10 of the Associated Press Poll for first time since week three, currently standing at #9. After losses early in the season to North Carolina State, UCLA, and the University of Texas, UConn fell to #17. But, after a 10 game winning streak and going 6-0 in conference, it is safe to say that they have found their rhythm.

Courtesy of Emilia Morello

UConn is proving why they are known as the Basketball Capital of the World, and the Connecticut girl in me is thrilled to see them on top. Bells were rang, flags were hung, and the people of Connecticut were overjoyed the see their team holding the #1 spot after so many years, and we hope to see them continue to hold their position.

Edited by Emilia Morello

Social Media Content by Saydatou Cisse

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