A Repeat for the Huskies will be tricky

The Huskies held up the national title in April last season after winning eleven straight games but will they be able to repeat that success come tournament time this season?

The Huskies entered last season as an overwhelming underdog. Their season started out in the best possible way it could have for a team picked to finished 11th in the Big East. UConn rolled in and out of Maui with a 3-0 record that included wins over Kentucky and Michigan St, these wins carried them to a surprising top 10 ranking after the first week of the season. Huskies guard Kemba Walker was lights out in the tournament, averaging 30 points a game and winning MVP honors and continued that all season.

The Huskies then hit the Big East and struggled throughout the conference and headed into the conference tournament as the eleven seed and needing five wins in five days to claim the title, and they did. Kemba Walker brought back his heroics with dazzling leadership and moves while being supported by Alex Oriakhi and Jeremy Lamb. They entered the tournament as a three seed and ran over Bucknell, Cincinnati, San Diego St and Arizona to win the West Region and reach the Final Four in Houston. They later went on to beat Kentucky in the final four match up and Butler in a low scoring championship game to win the title.

UConn's SF/SG Jeremy Lamb
UConn takes a huge blow after the loss of superstar point guard and leading scoring Kemba Walker to the NBA. Walker was the heart and soul of the Huskies team and when they were in dire need of a basket he finished, draining seven winning shots throughout the season. The team played how Kemba Walker was playing. With Walker's headed out they will need to put the team on the skinny shoulders of sharp shooting small forward Jeremy Lamb. Lamb really stepped up as an eleusive threat later on in the season and carried that over into the summer when he was the lead of USA's U-19 team. Lamb will be helped by point guard Shabazz Napier and center Alex Oriakhi.

Other problems for the Huskies include the suspension of Jim Calhoun for a few games and the return of key players for key teams. North Carolina will return as the favorites to win it all after losing in the elite eight last season and returning their entire starting lineup and key bench players to the squad. Kentucky and Ohio St will also be tough to beat as the season wears on with Terrence Jones and the nations best recruiting class coming in for the Wildcats and Jared Sullinger and William Buford returning for the Buckeyes. If the Huskies want to win that title they will likely need to go through one if not all of these teams throughout the season or in the tournament.

UConn should start out the season in the Top 10 and maybe in the Top 5 but I feel that they lack the leadership they need to start off well and thrive. Later on in the season during Big East play if a leader emerges the Huskies have the talent to have a shot at back to back titles but it will be a major challenge.


Top 10 Hardest Places to Play

In College Basketball home court advantage is arguable the most important out of any of the other sports. 

1. Cameron Indoor (Duke University)

Cameron only holds 9,314 fans but all of them make Durham rock. The "Cameron Crazies" make it an almost impossible place to play. The Student section surrounds the court. The crazies are so close that if you want to throw in the ball on the sidelines you'll have hands in your face. No team wants to play the Blue Devils no matter where you play them but at Cameron it's ten times tougher. 

2. Allen Fieldhouse ( Kansas University)

The Jayhawks have won an NCAA best 68 straight games and have only lost 12 games in 16 years at Allen Fieldhouse. When the capacity 16,300 fans start the "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" cheer the place just goes crazy and you get the chills. If you come out of Allen Fieldhouse with a win then you need to have a composed and veteran team. 

3. Carrier Dome (Syracuse University)

This Arena is in the Top 3 because of size. This place can pack in 33,000 fans and even had 34,600 last year vs Villanova. Most arenas only hold about 15,000-18,000 fans but when you have 33,000 fans that are this crazy the places gets rocking and the opposing team gets really flustered. 

4. Rupp Arena (University of Kentucky)

One of the largest capacity's in the NCAA (23,500) puts Lexington on the spot. Kentucky fans just love their UK basketball. They sell out their arena just to introduce the new recruiting class. This is the biggest arena to be made just for basketball, Carrier Dome is built for Football and Lacrosse too.  The Wildcats have a .881 winning percentage at Rupp which is one of the best all time. 

5. Peterson Center ( University of Pittsburgh)

This place has consistently been one of the toughest places to play since it opened in 2002. "The Oakland Zoo", Student Section, is one of the loudest and most rowdy student sections in the NCAA. In the toughest conference in the nation a huge home court advantage always gives you an advantage. Capacity crowd is 12,500.

6. Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma State) 

Most people usually don't think of Oklahoma St as a tough place to play but the 13,600 fans that show up every game make the place go crazy and make it tough for teams to come out Gallagher with a win. CBS named Gallagher as the Best College Basketball Arena in the country in 2001. 

7. Breslin Center (Michigan State)

"The Izzone" make the Breslin Center as hard as it is. Several places have ranked "the Izzone" in the Top 5 as best student sections. The Beslin Center holds a capacity crowd of 15,085 rowdy Spartan fans. When they get into Big Ten play and have to take on Ohio St, Purdue, Wissconsin, and Illinois the home court advantage makes a major difference. 

8. Kohl Center (University of Wisconsin)

Since the arena opened in 1998 the Badgers have only lost about 1.5 games at home per year. Even years that the Badgers haven't been ranked or a tournament team the Badgers have upset top opponents at Kohl because of the 17,230 fans yelling. Madison is always a place that teams don't want to travel to weather its football or basketball. 

9. Dean Smith Center (University of North Carolina)

The Dean Center has over 21,750 fan come to every game and all those crazy UNC fans help the Tarheels be as sucessful as they can. UNC has a a overall 285-52 sine the Dean Center opened in 1986. They have lost only 2.1 games per year and have had several years were they haven't lost one. 

10. Littlejohn Coliseum (Clemson University)

Only 10,375 fans pack into Littlejohn but its so close together that sound just bounces off the walls and onto the court and opposing players should wear ear plugs. Littlejohn is ranked as #2 in NCAA basketball as toughest places to play. 

Comment Below for places that you think I should added to the Top 10. 
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