After leading UConn to the NCAA championship last season, Kemba Walker declared for the NBA Draft and was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats. But NCAA coaches apparently feel that UConn's remaining talent still merits a lofty national ranking.
The Huskies were voted fourth in the first USA Today Top 25 coaches poll, behind only North Carolina, Kentucky and Ohio State.
UConn finished highest among the six Big East teams ranked in the Top 25, followed by Syracuse (5), Louisville (8), Pittsburgh (11), Marquette (21) and Cincinnati (22).
The Huskies will be led by Jeremy Lamb, who averaged 11.1 points and 4.5 rebounds despite playing in Walker's shadow. Shabazz Napier and Alex Oriakhi also return after contributing to last season's title run, and freshman Andre Drummond is regarded by some as the most talented first-year player in the NCAA.
Despite losing Walker, Jim Calhoun told the Hartford Courant he won't be surprised by anything this team accomplishes.
"Through the years, when we're supposed to win, we win. A lot of people were surprised we won it last year, I wasn't surprised. I wouldn't be surprised if we won it this year - but I'm going to be nervous before every game."