Connecticut Men's Basketball 2015 NIT Tournament Capsule

Connecticut Huskies
AAC (20-14, 10-8)


After last season’s magic, 2014-15 was a chore for the Connecticut Huskies. Right from the jump, UConn lost four games before conference play even began and then went out and lost its first AAC game as well. Everyone just penciled in this Huskies team to follow in the footsteps of the two prior champions because certain aspects of the teams were similar. Things don’t work like that in real life.

Big Wins: 11/21 vs Dayton (75-64), 1/10 Cincinnati (62-56), 3/1 SMU (81-73)
Bad Losses: 12/5 Yale (44-45), 2/1 at Houston (68-70), 3/5 Memphis (53-54)
Coach: Kevin Ollie

Why They Can Surprise:
Although Connecticut didn’t perfectly resemble its past title teams, there were some parts this year’s team got right. It did have the scoring, scrapping, slashing point guard who can get into the teeth of the defense at will or shoot over the top. Ryan Boatright scored close to 18 points per game this season while contributing a larger chunk of rebounds than many would expect from a man standing less than six feet. Sound familiar? UConn also had its prototypical shot-changer in the middle in Amida Brimah who helped bring the team to good standing in scoring defense. The sophomore center is still learning the game yet blocked 3.5 shots per game, a top-five mark nationally, and hit close to 70 percent of his own attempts! In fact, Brimah’s 69.8 shooting percentage was the number-one figure in the country. The two headliners had help this season too. Freshman Daniel Hamilton was a factor right from the beginning of the season and ended up leading the Huskies in rebounding from the small forward position. NC State transfer Rodney Purvis also helped take some of the scoring load, being perhaps the most powerful driving guard in the AAC.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Unfortunately for Huskies fans, the whole seemed to be less than the sum of its parts. The talented players on this club just never put it all together as well as they could or should have. The ball stuck too often or it was turned over. Foul shots didn’t fall at a respectable rate. Boatright was the only Husky who shot better than 35 percent from three. Hamilton barely cracked 37 percent from the floor in general. Purvis and Omar Calhoun also had struggles connecting from the outside. The midseason injuries to Sam Cassell and Rakim Lubin hurt this team’s rotation, but the backcourt guys often failed to deliver anyway and the frontcourt substitutes never grew into their roles. It is unfair to say UConn was bad this season; it was just more mediocre than most folks expected. And coming off of a season in which it won the national championship, mediocre is hard to stomach.

Probable Starters:
Ryan Boatright, Senior, Guard, 17.5 ppg, 3.8 apg, 4.1 rpg
Rodney Purvis, Sophomore, Guard, 11.3 ppg, 1.2 apg
Daniel Hamilton, Freshman, Forward, 10.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.6 apg
Phillip Nolan, Junior, Forward, 1.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Amida Brimah, Sophomore, Center, 9.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.5 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Omar Calhoun, Junior, Guard, 5.4 ppg
Terrence Samuel, Sophomore, Guard, 3.4 ppg, 1.4 apg
Kentan Facey, Sophomore, Forward, 4.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 65.2 (229th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 61.1 (47, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.3 (121, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 39.7 (41, 6)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.2 (197, 6)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.8 (152, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.4 (121, 2)
Rebound Margin: 2.4 (101, 4)
Assists Per Game: 12.2 (204, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.1 (121, 4)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2014    NCAA    Second Round win over St. Joseph's
2014    NCAA    Third Round win over Villanova
2014    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Iowa State
2014    NCAA    Regional Final win over Michigan State
2014    NCAA    National Semifinal win over Florida
2014    NCAA    National Final win over Kentucky
2012    NCAA    Second Round loss to Iowa State
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Bucknell
2011    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Cincinnati
2011    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over San Diego State
2011    NCAA    Regional Final win over Arizona
2011    NCAA    National Semifinal win over Kentucky
2011    NCAA    National Final win over Butler
2010    NIT    First Round win over Northeastern
2010    NIT    Second Round loss to Virginia Tech
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Tennessee-Chattanooga
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Texas A&M
2009    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Purdue
2009    NCAA    Regional Final win over Missouri
2009    NCAA    National Semifinal loss to Michigan State
2008    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to San Diego
2006    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Albany
2006    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Kentucky
2006    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Washington
2006    NCAA    Regional Final loss to George Mason

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules