No. 4 UConn men’s basketball, thanks largely to a dominant NCAA tournament run last season, set a new NCAA record on Monday night.
The Huskies rolled past New Hampshire 84-64 on Monday to get to 7-0 on the season. The win marked their 24th straight nonconference win by double digits, which set a new NCAA record. The streak included nine wins over power conference teams and six wins over ranked opponents.
North Carolina held the previous mark with 23 straight double-digit nonconference wins in 2008 and 2009, including the Tar Heels’ national championship in 2009. That record, according to ESPN, was the largest streak since 1950.
“I think it’s great to share a record with the men from last year’s team,” head coach Dan Hurley said, via the Hartford Courant. “The whole group, it’s great to share something with them that will be tough to break, I think, moving forward in today’s game with the portal and everything that’s going on. It just speaks to the respect we have for our opponents, the level of preparation that we put in for every single game and just the formula that these guys buy into.”
UConn’s record dates back to the start of last season. The Huskies went 11-0 before Big East play started, which included their Phil Knight Invitational win, and they climbed up to No. 2 in the rankings. They earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, and then flew through the field to grab their title. They beat San Diego State by 17 in the championship game, and won each game by an average of 20 points. They were the fifth team since 1985 to win all six tournament games by double digits, too.
UConn is now 7-0 this season, and beat both Indiana and No. 15 Texas in the Empire Classic last week. Since that championship run, the Huskies beat Manhattan by 30 and then rolled past New Hampshire by 20 on Monday night. UConn opened the game on a 20-0 run and never looked back. Donovan Clingan dropped a career-high 29 points, and both Cam Spencer and Tristen Newton added 17 points each. They shot just 18-of-50 from the field, however, and missed all but one of their first 14 shots to start the second half.
Though this run has been incredibly impressive, it’s sure to be tested in the coming days. The Huskies will take on No. 5 Kansas in Lawrence on Friday night in the Big East-Big 12 Battle. That matchup — Kansas started the year out at No. 1 in the rankings and already has wins over No. 17 Kentucky and No. 7 Tennessee this season — on paper looks like it will be one of the best of the season. UConn will then turn around and play No. 17 North Carolina at the Jimmy V Classic just days later on Dec. 5.
And even though they won by 20 on Monday night, Clingan knows there’s work to be done to get past Kansas.
“We’ve got to be much better for what’s coming on Friday,” Clingan said, via the Courant.