Monday, August 1, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

One of the most impressive aspects of the UConn men's basketball team's 2010-11 national championship season was its undefeated record in non-conference play.

The Huskies went 12-0 outside of the Big East, including victories over such top teams as Kentucky, Michigan State and Texas. And that's not counting their run through the NCAA tournament, in which teams like Arizona State, San Diego State, Kentucky (again) and Butler fell victim to the Huskies.

Jim Calhoun recently told the Register, "We're not going to go undefeated in non-conference play again." But that doesn't seem to be out of the question this season for the Huskies.

UConn's schedule of non-conference opponents was released on Monday, and while competitive, it hardly rivals last season's slate.

UConn will face just one team that went to the NCAA tournament a year ago – Tennessee, a program racked in scandal that recently fired controversial head coach Bruce Pearl.

The Huskies, who beat Wichita State, Michigan State and Kentucky to win the Maui Invitational last November, will compete in the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas this year. The field isn't quite as competitive, however: Florida State and Harvard are perhaps the two toughest teams UConn could face.

UConn men's basketball 2011-12 non-conference opponents:

Nov. 2 (exhibition) vs. AIC Jim Calhoun's alma mater in town for another exhibition game

Nov. 6 (exhibition) vs. CW Post Hamden's Tobin Carberry a sophomore on Pioneers

Nov. 11 vs. Columbia Lions went 6-8 in the Ivy League last season

Nov. 14 vs. Wagner Seahawks coached by Dan Hurley and his brother, ex-Dukie Bobby

Nov. 17 vs. Maine Ted Woodward, a Calhoun assistant many moons ago, coaches the Black Bears

Nov. 20 vs. Coppin State UConn only beat Eagles by a dozen (76-64) last year in Hartford

Nov. 24-26 @ Battle 4 Atlantis, Bahamas (UConn, Harvard, Florida State, Utah, Massachusetts, Central Florida, College of Charleston, UNC-Asheville)

Dec. 3 vs. Arkansas No longer "40 Minutes of Hell," Razorbacks were 18-13 last year

Dec. 7 vs. Harvard Ivy regular-season co-champs could give UConn a battle

Dec. 18 vs. Holy Cross Associate head coach was star player, longtime coach of Crusaders

Dec. 22 vs. Fairfield Olander brothers (Tyler and Ryan) meet as college opponents for first time

Jan. 21 @ Tennessee A Jim Calhoun-Bruce Pearl rematch would have been very interesting

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