UConn head coach Dan Hurley talks to his players during...

UConn head coach Dan Hurley talks to his players during a time-out in the first half of a first-round college basketball game against Stetson in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 22, 2024, in New York. Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

Dan Hurley paused in the middle of his news conference Saturday when a young staffer walked into the room and handed him a UConn baseball cap.

But not just any cap.

“Yes, I'm superstitious,” the Huskies coach said. “I need my lucky hat."

"Good hustle, Chris,” he said to the staffer.

Hurley has not been shy about calling his top-seeded Huskies the best team in college basketball. Still, he is not taking any chances heading into Sunday's second-round matchup against ninth-seeded Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament.

For Hurley, that means wearing the same suit, shirt, socks and, yes, underwear every game.

“My wife (Andrea), she was churning the hand washer last night, and when I left this morning, they were hanging. They looked droopy,” Hurley said Saturday. “But they had the hair dryer on hot and she had a concoction set up to dry them. The socks got holes in them because I’m running the same socks.”

UConn head coach Dan Hurley, left, shakes hands with Stetson...

UConn head coach Dan Hurley, left, shakes hands with Stetson head coach Donnie Jones, right, after a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 22, 2024, in New York. Credit: AP/Frank Franklin II

UConn began its national title defense on Friday by cruising to a 91-52 victory over 16th-seeded Stetson. The Huskies' 33-point margin at halftime was the largest in program history during the NCAA Tournament.

The dark blue suit he was wearing is the same one he wore during the run to the national title last year. It also dates back to his Rhode Island days. Hurley said he realized that when he went away from the suit, his teams lost in the postseason.

“I broke it back out last March,” he said. “I think it’s at the dry cleaner. I’m going to wear that until somebody takes me out.”

Same goes for the shoes.

“Brutal shoes. Brown shoes. Barely have a sole left,” he said.

Hurley is in his sixth season with UConn. The New Jersey native and former Seton Hall guard said he wasn't like this as a player, but as a coach he can only control so much of the outcome.

“But sometimes, you’re just in the back of the locker room by yourself a lot, everyone else is out there, and it’s just you and your thoughts. And you know, you are not going to turn the TV on, so now, like, your mind is racing,” Hurley said.

Then there are the M&M's. Before a game Hurley eats eight of the little colorful chocolate candies, but none of the colors of the opponent. That meant no green ones before the Stetson game.

Hurley won't have to sort through M&M's Sunday. The old-fashioned plain M&M's don't come in Northwestern purple.

“A lot of the superstition things, the M&Ms and the clothes, it’s almost like you’re putting on armor. It’s almost like watching Rafa Nadal before he serves. He goes through this weird process of things that settles him before he serves the ball,” Hurley said. “It just kind of takes my mind away from thinking about all the bad things that could happen over the course of the next couple hours.”

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AP Sports Writer Mike Fitzpatrick contributed.

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