On Monday, we wrote that half of CBSSports.com's experts like the Huskies to finish first in the American Athletic Conference. A day later, NBCSports.com's CollegeBasketballTalk rolled out its top 25 and has UConn 20th.
Rob Dauster writes that the defending champs will be good in 2014-15 because, "UConn enters the season with one of the nation’s most talented backcourts" in Ryan Boatright and NC State transfer Rodney Purvis.
"Purvis has a chance to be one of the nation’s most improved players this season while Hamilton, the youngest brother of Gary (Miami), Jordan (Texas and now the NBA) and Isaac (UCLA), is a wing forward with a reputation for being a big-time scorer," Dauster continues. ... "Throw in sophomore Terrance Samuel, who had some big moments during UConn’s national title run, as well as Omar Calhoun and JuCo transfer Sam Cassell Jr., and the Huskies legitimately go six-deep on their perimeter."
That's certainly what coach Kevin Ollie is thinking, especially after losing power forward DeAndre Daniels, who left school to play professionally. But it's not all unicorns and rainbows. Dauster on why the Huskies could struggle:
"As good as their back court is, it will be downright impossible to replace Shabazz Napier. And I’m not just talking about his ability to score or his knack for making a big shot in a bigger moment, I’m talking about the leadership that he provided and his presence in the locker room. Napier was a coach on the floor, a guy that ran this team and commanded the respect of his teammates. Doug McDermott was the rightful National Player of the Year last season, but Napier was every bit as valuable as him."
Despite the loss of Napier, which is admittedly huge, the Huskies are in prime position to win the AAC and make another deep postseason run.