Why Geno Auriemma likes UConn men’s basketball team’s chances in NCAA Tournament

For the first time since 2005, UConn women’s basketball is not a No. 1 nor a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Huskies are a No. 3 seed this spring for just the third time in program history.

While the women are seeded relatively low for their traditional standards, the UConn men’s basketball team made program history with its best seeding yet.

What Geno Auriemma said about UConn men's basketball team

The reigning national champions are the No. 1 overall seed in the men’s NCAA Tournament for first time in program history and look to become the first team since Florida (2006, 2007) to repeat.

“You hate to put anything on anybody, but they’re better than they were last year,” UConn women’s head coach Geno Auriemma said Monday. “You say, ‘Well, how’s that possible?’

The guys that they had come back are more experienced. They’ve been through the championship run. … I don’t think they need luck this year. They’re so … good and they can win any kind of game.”

The women open the tournament against No. 14 Jackson State but may have a Sweet 16 rematch with No. 2 Ohio State in Portland. Southern California is the No. 1 seed in the Huskies’ Portland 3 Regional.

The men’s quest to go back-to-back starts on Friday against No. 16 Stetson. UConn will face the winner of No. 8 Florida Atlantic-No. 9 Northwestern in the second round.

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The Huskies are joined in their corner of the bracket by No. 2 Iowa State, No. 3 Illinois, No. 4 Auburn and No. 5 San Diego State. UConn is the only team in the East Region that has lost less than six games (three).

“They’re being asked to do something that’s not possible. That hasn’t been possible for a long time,” Auriemma said.

“Because people just sit there and tell you this is going to be easy for them, but it’s gonna be hard for UConn women’s basketball.

No, it’s hard for everybody. It’s hard for everyone. Hard for our men. Hard for us and hard for everybody else. And it’s supposed to be. You’re playing for the national championship.”

Auriemma traveled to Houston last April to watch the men’s team compete in the Final Four and win the 2023 championship after his team exited the tournament early in the Sweet 16.

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