DOWNTOWN — In 2004, the University of Connecticut men's and women's basketball teams won national championships.
Ten years later, the Huskies are each one win away from accomplishing the same remarkable feat, which suits Marty Horn just fine.
Horn is president of the UConn Alumni Association Chicago Chapter, which has about 1,400 members in the city and surrounding suburbs.
"To say we're excited is an understatement," Horn said. "I’m sure if you look at people’s brackets, whether alums or not, many people would have had the women going to the Final Four, but not the men. So it’s extremely rewarding to see both teams being as successful as they have thus far."
In the men's championship, the seventh-seeded Huskies (31-8) face eighth-seeded Kentucky (29-10) Monday night in Arlington, Texas, in by far the most unlikely finals matchup in NCAA tournament history.
The top-seeded UConn women (39-0), who have prevailed by an average margin of 35 points this season, meet fellow top-seeded Notre Dame (37-0) in Tuesday's title tilt in Nashville, Tenn.
Horn and other UConn alumni watched Saturday's men's victory over No. 1 overall seed Florida at Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior St., Downtown. He said the group plans to do the same on Monday.
"We’ve been going there since the Sweet 16, and we want to keep the streak alive," Horn said.
Horn said membership in the Chicago chapter, which holds monthly get-togethers, is free. He said the group has a "diverse array of ages, professions and life experiences."
"However, we all have one thing in common: a love for UConn, and a feeling of pride for the great education we received and great time we had there, no matter when we attended," Horn said. "The chapter’s purpose is to bring all these alums together and strengthen that bond with the school and with each other and to reignite that passion for UConn.
"We’re incredibly proud of both the men’s and women’s teams, and they certainly help put UConn on the map," Horn added. "I hope as a result of our run through the tournament that more people from this area and around the country will take a closer look at UConn than they may have otherwise."