The college basketball season is in full swing, with games on television almost every night. Let’s take a look at some of the big national and local stories for this season.
University of Connecticut: There are not many college basketball programs where merely getting to the Final Four two years in a row is a big disappointment.
But the University of Connecticut women are different.
The Huskies have won an amazing 11 national titles under Coach Geno Auriemma. Connecticut once won 111 straight games between November 2014 and March 2017. So anything less than an NCAA championship is a letdown.
Before this season, there was some talk the Huskies may take a back seat to the Notre Dame, the defending national champ. Not so fast. Led by all-American Katie Lou Samuelson and freshman sensation Christyn Williams, Connecticut beat Notre Dame this month, 89-71, at Notre Dame.
There are more and more good women’s college basketball teams these days. But the University of Connecticut is still the team to beat.
Duke freshmen: In men’s college basketball, there are many players who are “one-and-done.” Those are players who stay only one year at their college and then move on to the pros. They are hardly part of the school.
This season, Duke is stacked with sensational freshmen. The first-year stars ran wild over highly ranked Kentucky, 118-84, in the first game of the season. After 10 games, the four top scorers for the Blue Devils are all freshmen.
But they are still learning. A more experienced Gonzaga squad edged Duke, 89-87. Be sure to watch the Blue Devils this season. Because after March Madness, players such as RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish and Zion Williamson may be one and done.
Maryland women: Year in and year out, the best local college basketball team is the University of Maryland women. Under Coach Brenda Frese, the Terps have had 15 straight winning seasons, three Final Four appearances and won a national title.
This year should be no different. Maryland is off to a 10-0 (10 wins, no losses) start, even blowing out a strong South Carolina team, 85-61. Things should get tougher as the Terps move into their Big Ten schedule. But expect Frese to have Maryland near the top in 2019.
Local men: None of the Washington-area men’s teams appear to be championship quality this season. Some — such as George Washington, George Mason, Howard and American — would be delighted with a winning record.
Maryland (9-2 so far) and Georgetown (7-2) look better, but they are in tough conferences. That may make an NCAA tournament bid hard to get.
College hoops. There is plenty to watch before March Madness.