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UConn’s return to Big East is great for college basketball

2K Empire Classic

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 15: Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley reacts as the Connecticut Huskies bench celebrates after the Huskies rebound in the first half of the game against Syracuse Orange during the 2k Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 15, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

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UConn is heading back to the Big East.

That is according to a report from Digital Sports Desk that has since been confirmed by The Athletic, Stadium and the Hartford Courtant. The plan, according to the report, is for UConn to get the basketball program back into the Big East Conference for the 2020-21 season, but that nothing can be made official until UConn finds a place for its football program to land. Stadium is reporting that the rest of UConn’s athletic programs, including their powerhouse women’s basketball team, will return to the Big East as well.

The football team went 1-11 this past season with an 0-8 record in the American.

“It is our responsibility to always be mindful of what is in the best interest of our student athletes, our fans and our future,” UConn said in a statement released on Saturday morning. “With that being said, we have been and remain proud members of the American Athletic Conference.”

UConn was a founding member of the Big East, joining in 1979, but they parted ways with the catholic schools in the league in 2015 when those programs formed this iteration of the Big East, instead joining the American.

This is a blow for the American, as UConn is one of the most storied basketball programs in college basketball. They have won four national titles in the last 20 years, including one in 2014 as a member of the AAC.

But - and I’m saying this as a Connecticut native that grew up a huge UConn fan - this news could not be any better for the basketball program, the Big East or the state’s fan base.

UConn belongs in the Big East. They belong playing two games a year against Villanova, and Providence, and Georgetown, and St. John’s. It’s not going to be the same without Pitt, Syracuse and the rest of the teams that headed to the ACC in the last round of realignment, but playing regional rivalries against programs that the Huskies have a history with will be huge. Ask any UConn fan if they care about watching their team play the likes of Tulsa, East Carolina or Tulane and you’ll get laughed at.

With a return to the historic league that they helped found and the jolt that second-year head coach Danny Hurley is going to give the program, there is suddenly reason to be excited about UConn basketball again.

And that is a good thing for college hoops.