No. 4 seed UConn men open NCAA Tournament against Rick Pitino, No. 13 Iona in Albany

It was virtually a lock after the UConn men’s basketball team swept its nonconference slate and started its season 14-0 that they’d earn a third-straight NCAA Tournament bid when March came around – it was just a matter of how high the Huskies would be seeded.

On Sunday, the Huskies were revealed as a No. 4 seed in a loaded West Region.

UConn will meet Rick Pitino and No. 13 Iona for its first round game at MVP Arena in Albany on Friday, March 17, and, if they win, will play the winner of No. 5 Saint Mary’s and No. 12 VCU on Sunday. The West Region holds its Elite Eight and Sweet 16 rounds in Las Vegas.

Iona (27-7) finished its season with 14 straight wins and won the MAAC Championship.

The West Region is loaded, highlighted by No. 1-seeded Kansas, No. 2 UCLA, and No. 3 Gonzaga. Sixth-seeded TCU, No. 7 Northwestern and Arkansas round out the top eight.

It is the first time UConn received has an NCAA Tournament bid for three-straight seasons in 17 years, since going to five straight from 2002-06. The Huskies have not won an NCAA Tournament game under head coach Dan Hurley; they lost as a No. 7 seed to No. 10 Maryland in 2021 and followed it up with second heartbreaker in 2022 as a No. 5 seed against No. 12 New Mexico State.

It is the highest seed the Huskies have earned since they won the 2011 National Championship as a No. 3 seed. UConn’s 2014 National Championship team was a No. 7 seed, while Jim Calhoun’s Huskies entered the Tournament as a No. 2 seed before winning in 2004 and a No. 1 seed in 1999.

It is the 35th time the UConn men have earned an NCAA Tournament bid, where they hold an all-time record of 59-32 in tournament games. The Huskies have been to five final fours, and their four national championships are tied with Kansas for sixth-most of any program all-time. UConn is tied with Duke and North Carolina for the most NCAA championships in this century, winning three after 2000.