In case you haven't noticed, Connecticut is back on the map. With the men's teams' victory over Louisville on Monday night, and the women continuing to dominate their competition, the University of Connecticut has solidified it's place as the current NCAA Basketball Capital of the United States!
Sports fans in the state are usually overlooked, especially while being caught up between the major media markets of Boston and New York. The Boston/New England media market draws millions of fans towards the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics. The New York/New Jersey media market draws those same fans towards the Yankees, Knicks, Devils, Rangers, Nets, Mets, Islanders, Jets, and Giants.
Connecticut has the Sun, from the WNBA, but they have not really gained a huge following in the state. Even though the Sun have continued to be competitive and have challenged for the WNBA title since their inception in the league, sports fans in Connecticut still don't really get too excited about their lone professional sports team.
Double-A baseball teams, for the Minnesota Twins and San Francisco Giants, easily have a stronger following in Connecticut than the Sun.
They may be divided about other teams, but all of the fans in Connecticut can agree that the UConn Huskies are their version of a professional team. There is no need for other sports teams in the state, when both the men's and women's teams are ranked No. 1 in the nation. Connecticut has moved back to being a major powerhouse in both leagues, and residents are very proud to have them represent the state.
The Men's team was ranked No. 2 in the preseason polls, as Hall of Fame Head Coach Jim Calhoun looks to win his third national championship this season.
After a bad loss to Georgetown, the Huskies have come storming back, running their record to 21-1. They have beaten the likes of Gonzaga, Notre Dame, Louisville, and Villanova on their way to being undefeated on the road at 11-0.
Some of the major contributors on the Huskies this season include Hasheem Thabeet, Jeff Adrien, Jerome Dyson, Kemba Walker, A.J. Price, and Stanley Robinson.
The men still have a tough schedule before March, including Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Marquette, and Notre Dame. At this rate, however, the Huskies are well on their way to winning the Big East and entering March as the overall No. 1 seed.
The women's team, on the other hand, has been ranked No. 1 in the nation since before the 2008-09 campaign began. Hall of Fame Head Coach Geno Auriemma looks to win his sixth national championship this season, and it doesn't appear that anyone will stop him from doing that. The Huskies are 22-0 and have handily defeated major opponents like Oklahoma, North Carolina, LSU, and Louisville.
Key members of the women's team this season have been: Maya Moore, Tina Charles, Ren Montgomery, Caroline Doty, Kalana Greene, Tiffany Hayes, and Kaili Mclaren.
On their way to being the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, the women still have to face Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and Marquette. They should have no problem winning the Big East and then marching through the NCAA bracket in March.
NCAA fever is alive and well in Connecticut as the UConn men and women have continued to dominate their opponents on their way to identical No. 1 rankings in the nation. This could very well be the year that the same university celebrates championships in both leagues.
Welcome to Connecticut, the home of the best college basketball teams in the United States!