A quick refresher as the UConn season approaches: In 2012-13, Geno Auriemma's Huskies went 35-4 and won the school's eighth national title. They lost Kelly Faris to graduation but the expectation is that the other four starters -- Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart will all improve. And, oh yeah, the team also added another High School National Player of the Year in Saniya Chong.
Knowing that, it's no surprise that UConn begins the 2013-14 season as the nation's top-ranked team, according to the USA Today Coaches Poll. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the Huskies weren't the unanimous choice. Then again, Auriemma has never put much stock in preseason ranking so we'd imagine he couldn't care less.
Either way, UConn received 31 of 32 first-place votes, with the other vote going to fourth-ranked Tennessee. Here's the complete list of top-25 teams:
1. UConn; 2. Duke; 3. Stanford; 4. Tennessee; 5. Louisville; 6. Maryland; 7. Notre Dame; 8. Kentucky; 9. California; 10. Baylor; 11. North Carolina; 12. Nebraska; 13. Texas A&M; 14. Oklahoma; 15. Penn State; 16. Dayton; 17. LSU; 18. Michigan State; 19. Colorado; 20. Iowa State; 21. South Carolina; 22. Georgia; 23. Purdue; 24. Oklahoma State; 25. UCLA.
Auriemma has never shed away from scheduling tough games and this season is no different. The Huskies will face second-ranked Duke, third-ranked Stanford, fifth-ranked Louisville (AAC member), sixth-ranked Maryland, ninth-ranked California, 10th-ranked Baylor and 15th-ranked Penn St.
UConn's exhibition opener this Friday is against Gannon, the No. 2 team in Division II based on the coaches preseason poll.