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UConn is back in the Big East. Here's a sport-by-sport look at Creighton's new conference rival
special report
ATHLETICS

UConn is back in the Big East. Here's a sport-by-sport look at Creighton's new conference rival

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The UConn-Big East reunion has been on the books for more than a year, but the day is officially here.

Wednesday marked the first day of UConn's renewed affiliation with the Big East.

And since Creighton now has a new conference peer, we figured it’d be appropriate to take a sport-by-sport look at the Huskies.

For the purposes of this write-up, we’ll skip over UConn football and hockey (field and ice), and instead focus on seven of the sports prioritized by the Jays.

It should be noted the Huskies aren’t exactly strutting their way back home to the Big East, where they were one of seven original members.

UConn faced serious financial questions before the coronavirus pandemic, and the school announced on June 24 it plans to cut four sports (men’s swimming and diving, men’s tennis, men’s cross country and women’s rowing). But there’s certainly a considerable amount of prestige and history within that athletic department.

Here’s a glimpse of what Creighton (and the rest of the league) will be up against with UConn now in the fold:

Women’s basketball

Geno Auriemma

UConn has won 11 national championships under coach Geno Auriemma, including four straight from 2013-16.

National titles: 11

Final Fours: 20

Coach: Geno Auriemma, 36th season

2020 finish: 29-3, first in AAC

Final ranking 5-year average: third in RPI (CU: 66th)

Notable alums: Rebecca Lobo, Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Sue Bird

Series history vs. Creighton: 1-0 (UConn won 96-60 in 2014)

Perhaps the biggest juggernaut in all of college sports. The Huskies never lost a game to an AAC opponent during their seven years in the league. A perfect 139-0.

Men's basketball

National titles: Four

NCAA tournament appearances: 33

Coach: Dan Hurley, third season

2020 finish: 19-12, tied for fifth in AAC

Final ranking 5-year average: 84th in RPI/NET (CU: 48th)

Notable alums: Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Kemba Walker

Series history vs. Creighton: Never played

UConn finished 2020 with an 8-2 record in its last 10 games, it returns budding star James Bouknight and it adds a top-25 recruiting class. The Huskies are on the rise.

Men’s soccer

National titles: Three

NCAA tournament appearances: 35

Coach: Ray Reid, 23rd season

2019 finish: 5-12-1, sixth in AAC

Final ranking 5-year average: 60th in RPI (CU: 32nd)

Notable alums: Damani Ralph, Andre Blake

Series history vs. Creighton: 1-2 (UConn's win came in the 2000 national title game)

Last year marked Reid’s first losing season at UConn. But you have to assume his program will rebound. It’s one of the best brands in the sport, with a legendary home-field advantage.

Women’s soccer

College Cup appearances: Seven

NCAA tournament appearances: 31

Coach: Margaret Rodriguez, third season

2019 finish: 6-8-3, tied for seventh in AAC

Final ranking 5-year average: 101st in RPI (CU: 161st)

Notable alums: Sara Whalen, Brittany Kolmel

Series history vs. Creighton: Never played

Rodriguez, a former UConn player and assistant, is leading a program that aims to restore its national standing. She took over for one of the icons in the women's game, Len Tsantiris.

Baseball

UConn baseball

With NCAA tournament appearances in three of the last four completed seasons, UConn has developed one of the best baseball programs in the Northeast.

CWS appearances: Five

NCAA tournament appearances: 21

Coach: Jim Penders, 18th season

2020 finish: 8-5

Final ranking 5-year average: 38th in RPI (CU: 74th)

Notable alums: George Springer, Charles Nagy, Matt Barnes

Series history vs. Creighton: Never played

One of the most consistent baseball programs in the Northeast. The Huskies have earned three NCAA regional berths in the last four completed seasons (2016, 2018 and 2019). They reached a super regional in 2011.

Softball

WCWS appearances: One

NCAA tournament appearances: Eight

Coach: Lara Valentino, second season

2020 finish: 16-5

Final ranking 5-year average: 163rd in RPI (CU: 169th)

Series history vs. Creighton: 0-1 (Jays won 5-1 in 1991)

The Huskies were off to their best start in 27 years before the coronavirus cut the 2020 season short. So they’ll bring back a motivated and confident roster.

Volleyball

NCAA tournament appearances: Zero

Coach: Ellen Herman-Kimball, second season

2019 finish: 12-16, tied for third in AAC East

Final ranking 5-year average: 167th in RPI (CU: 16th)

Series history vs. Creighton: 1-0 (UConn won 3-2 in 2009)

Herman-Kimball became the permanent head coach in October after serving in an interim role for about eight months. The Huskies haven’t finished with a conference record over .500 in eight years.

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