Wednesday, April 3, 2013

UConn to Open Next Season vs. Maryland in Brooklyn

UConn announced yesterday what the Washington Post had reported last week -- that the Huskies will open their 2013-14 season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn against Maryland on Friday, Nov. 8.

A lot of people have noted that UConn's press release regarding the game had the following words:

“We are looking forward to opening our 2013-14 basketball season in such a wonderful way, playing a great program like Maryland in a beautiful facility like Barclays Center,” said UConn Coach Kevin Ollie, who expects to return his top six scorers and top five rebounders, including All-Big East first team pick Shabazz Napier. “I know all our student-athletes, but especially the ones from the New York City area, are very excited about the opportunity.”

While it would appear that the Huskies are expecting Napier (and Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels, not to mention Enosch Wolf) back in uniform next season, it's important to point out that those weren't Ollie's words. Nothing is set in stone yet.

That said, it looks highly likely that UConn will have no NBA draft defections this year. Napier is still in a walking boot, so even if he did get the chance to work out for NBA teams, he'd be extremely limited (if able at all to do so).

*** UConn does not currently have a game scheduled with Texas next season. In November, 2008, the schools signed a four-game contract over six seasons, with games schedule for 2009-10 at UConn, 2010-11 at Texas, no games in 2011-12 or 2012-13, 2013-14 at UConn and 2014-15 at Texas.

This year's game isn't a certainty yet, but that's not to say it won't happen. Right now, all we know for sure is that the Huskies will open the season with Maryland, then play either Boston College, Washington or Indiana on Nov. 21-22 at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic.

UConn will play two of those three teams, though it's not known which ones yet. It will also play two prior 2K Classic games in Storrs against yet-to-be-determined opponents. Even if UConn (or BC, Washington or Indiana) lose one of their opening two games, all four of those teams will still go to the Garden. Apparently, the tournament is trying to avoid a situation like it had a few years ago, when Gardner-Webb popped Kentucky in Lexington and the Wildcats didn't get a chance to go to MSG.

UConn was supposed to play Washington in Seattle next season, after hosting the Huskies on Dec. 29 in Hartford. But because the teams may meet in the 2K Sports Classic, that game is likely to be put off for another year.

*** Andre Drummond was back in Storrs on Tuesday. Drummond's Pistons play the Celtics tonight.

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