UConn Men's Basketball was once a regional power, winning 18 Yankee Conference championships, but they struggled in the early days of the Big East behind traditional powers Georgetown and Syracuse. Jim Calhoun was hired prior to the 1986-87 season when the Huskies were still not known as a national powerhouse. All that changed in 1988 when the team showed significant improvement and made the NIT. UConn went on a run in the tournament and defeated Ohio State at Madison Square Garden to win the NIT- - the school's first national basketball title.
The 1990 "Dream Season" would bring UConn basketball to the national stage. Led by Chris Smith and Tate George, UConn went from unranked in the preseason to winning the Big East Regular Season and Tournament Championships, both for the first time. 1990 also marked the opening of Gampel Pavilion, the program's new on-campus home. The Huskies garnered a #2 seed in the East Reigon, but trailed Clemson 70-69 with 1 second remaining in the Sweet 16. Scott Burrell tossed a full-court pass to Tate George on the far baseline and George spun, fired, and hit a buzzer-beater that is known in Connecticut simply as "The Shot". They would be eliminated on a buzzer-beater 2 days later by Duke, losing in overtime 79-78.
UConn rose to national prominence during the 1990s, but the Final Four still eluded Calhoun and the program until 1999. A win over Gonzaga sent UConn to Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay for the Final Four. They defeated Ohio State to face off against Duke in the final, where they were 9-point underdogs, despite having been ranked #1 for half of the year. The game was tight throughout, and when the final buzzer sounded, UConn had defeated Duke 77-74.
The 1999 National Championship would not be the last. In 2004, the Huskies returned to the Final Four. Once again, they faced Duke, this time in the National Semifinal, and used a late run to beat the Blue Devils 79-78. Two nights later, led by Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor, UConn beat Georgia Tech 82-73 to win the championship.
Notable Mens Team Players
Notable Womens Team Players
- Sue Bird
- Diana Taurasi
- Svetlana Abrosimova
- Ann Strother
- Nykesha Sales
- Rebecca Lobo
- Kara Wolters
- Jennifer Rizzotti
- Renee Montgomery
- February 27, 1954 - Worthy Patterson's buzzer-beater at Holy Cross gave UConn an upset of the then-powerhouse Crusaders, 78-77.
- March 14, 1964 - UConn upsets Princeton University and star forward Bill Bradley 52-50 in the Sweet 16 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The victory was sealed when Dom Perno stole the ball from Bradley with 19 seconds to play. Perno would later become UConn's coach.
- February 28, 1970 - With 4 players unavailable, and a share of the Yankee Conference Regular-Season Championship on the line, UConn beats Rhode Island 35-32 at the UConn Field House, in what became known as "The Slowdown Game". Played before the shot clock-era, UConn dribbles endlessly for 38 minutes to make up for the limited roster and save energy.
- March 30, 1988 - UConn defeats Ohio State 72-67 at Madison Square Garden to win the NIT.
- January 27, 1990 - UConn beats #15 St. John's 72-58 in the first game at Gampel Pavilion.
- March 11, 1990 - UConn beats Syracuse 78-75 at Madison Square Garden to win its first Big East Tournament Championship.
- March 22, 1990 - Tate George hits "The Shot" to beat Clemson 71-70 in the 1990 Sweet 16 at Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
- March 29, 1999 - UConn wins its first National Championship, beating Duke 77-74 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.
- April 5, 2004 - UConn wins its second National Championship, beating Georgia Tech 82-73.