Mailbag 3/11: What Will UConn’s Future Schedules Look Like?

by Categorized: Mailbag, UConn men's basketball
Date:

 

Q: I saw you mentioned the Thanksgiving tourney next year at MSG that includes IU. In light of the collapse of the conference,  I’m hopeful that you will report Uconn has a lot of tough non-conference games scheduled in the upcoming years. So, who can we expect to see the Huskies be playing outside of the conference? Is it time to drop the instate cupcake games?

Sam

Essex

A: Hi Sam. UConn and Quinnipiac crossed paths in the Virgin Islands this year, UConn winning in double OT, and Fairfield played a close game at XL in Dec. 2011. The Huskies last played Yale in 2003, Central in 2005, Sacred Heart in 2006 and Hartford in 2008, so the in-state games have been gone for a while. Personally, I’d rather see UConn play teams from Connecticut than soft opponents from outside the state, such as Maryland-Eastern Shore, Coppin State, Fordham, etc. … That’s just me.

… Your larger question is the strength of the nonconference schedule. Once UConn knows its league opponents and commitments, we’ll have a better idea of what they will do going forward, and if the new conference doesn’t provide  the desired RPI strength, it’s a no-brainer that UConn will have to “schedule up.” But I wouldn’t expect anything too dramatic. Playing power-nonconference games usually means a home-and-home agreement, which means UConn would have to give up a home game and so would the other team. You can only do so many of those at one time. UConn likes playing home games, and the new league, once play starts in January, will be much more taxing in terms of travel than the old Big East, with two teams in Texas, two in Florida, etc. … Certainly, UConn would be interested in renewing some of the disappearing Big East rivalries, but for these reasons that will be complicated.

Perhaps the new unnamed league will develop a “challenge” series with a power conference, along the lines of the Big East-SEC Challenge. Once everbody gets over their anger, maybe such a series between the “new Big East” and UConn’s new conference could be interesting.

One-shot neutral site games like the Armed Forces Classic, or the Jimmy V last season, can help upgrade without the home-and-home element.

But in any event, look for UConn’s future nonconference schedules to be typical of what nonconference schedules are – a handful of power conference opponents, some in tournaments, and the rest midmajors. This past season, UConn played Wake Forest and NC State, Washington, Michigan State and New Mexico, and its strength of schedule was consistently rated in the top 10. I just don’t see it getting very much harder than that.

  

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15 thoughts on “Mailbag 3/11: What Will UConn’s Future Schedules Look Like?

  1. UConn Husky Dan

    Dom — but it also played Syracuse, Georgetown, Louisville, at Marquette, at Notre Dame, etc. Those are games that will need to be replaced. Only guaranteed quality conference games will be vs. Cinci, Temple and Memphis. Maybe Houston, SMU, USF and UCF will build some consistency and some decent years. East Carolina? ha Tulane? haha

    There will need to be more non-conference series with “power” teams beyond how UConn currently schedules. At least one more home-and-home per year, would like to see two. Big deal if they have to travel one more game per year. If it’s at a neutral site they would still have to travel. The home-and-home series at least build some excitement for the fans — (season ticket sales). So you’ve got be kidding when you say that they aren’t going to improve their non-conference scheduling — they are going to have to bring in some names to fill the XL.

    1. TZToronto

      Well, just a minute. While I agree that a tougher non-conference schedule will be necessary, don’t toss out USF and UCF. USF beat UConn just a few days ago (undermanned Huskies, to be sure), and UCF beat UConn last season when UConn was definitely not undermanned (under-motivated, maybe). So the new conference could surprise–especially for the Huskies’ away game if UConn is highly ranked. When the Huskies have a target on their backs, opponents seem to play well.

      1. BearJWS

        Both losses to USF & UCF were considered bad losses. They are not good teams by any means. Basketball wise, only Temple & Memphis are considered quality basketball teams. This is why UConn will need to play a more difficult out of league schedule. They are headed in the right path next year playing in the 2K Sports Classic, which will have Indiana & Washington in the field.

        1. UConn Husky Dan

          Agree — both bad losses. While they may have potential and have some good years, they aren’t going to a top RPI team every year. No one will be circling USF and UCF on their calendars.

  2. JoeP

    Correct me if I’m wrong about this but I believe when East Carolina joins in 2014 it will be initially just for football.

    1. UConn Husky Dan

      Aresco has already said that full membership is going to happen for East Carolina (and will be formally voted on in an upcoming presidents meeting now that the Catholic 7 divorce is in the rear-view mirror).

  3. revkev

    If I’m reading the “new” league correctly next year isn’t so bad. 10 teams – hopefully the schedule is 18 home and away league games which means 2 each against Cinncinati, Louisville, Temple and Memphis. That could easily be 8 games against top 50 opponents, throw in the preason tournament, the Washington game on the road and perhaps one other top opponent and you’re looking at a reasonable schedule. Plus one of the five other league opponents could have an up season – I don’t know enough about them but think of USF and UCF last year – it’s not a guarantee that both would be doormats every season.

    After that is anyone’s guess. I’m sure UConn is not thinking that it will be in this league in ’14/15 – heck the way the world turns we don’t even know that it will exist in ’14/15. (No doomsday prediction being offered just commentary on how quickly things change.)

  4. Hip Hop Hood

    Travel cost are going to kill our program. Also lots of missed time in the classroom (not that was ever a concern) due to all the travel.

    1. Midtown Pete

      Why do you care? You hate everything thing about Uconn. Don’t try coming off as a fan now.

  5. old hoss

    this whole thing is absurd, I am still mad we aren’t going with th catholic schools. I am not a fotball fan, worst thing we did was upgrade our football program, even though i enjoy going to their games.

    Travel for all other sports is irresponsible to have this conference, our swim team is going to go to Texas and Florida twice a year?? Come on

    We should have gone with the catholic 7 and played football in this conference only.

    I hate all of this and want no part of the ACC either.

    1. teo

      Amen. Thank you.

      When Huskymania arrived shortly after Jim Calhoun — in the late 1980s — UConn was largely a regional university with a lot of kids who commuted home each weekend. Academically, it was a school like, say, UMass or New Hampshire.

      In the interim — in the 23 years since The Shot — the Huskies have won three national titles, numerous Big East tournaments, competed with the very best schools in all sports and, oh yes, developed a football team which began playing D1 10 years ago. Academically, the school is now one of the better public universities in the United States and the best public university in the northeast.

      But we’re leaving the Big East so we can compete with Cincinnati, SMU, Houston, Memphis and others with fledgling football programs. And we’re going to whine about not being invited to this major conference or that major conference. And we’re going to have a hard time getting into the NCAA tourney with such a weak conference and an even harder time winning in such a tourney because of our inferior schedule.

      In short, it’s a mess. And it’s all because of D1 football. No more Georgetown. No more Villanova. No more Syracuse. Actually, no more rivals. All because of football.

  6. Eric

    The thing that people seem to be forgetting here is that the new conference does have a TV deal with ESPN which means that some of these “lesser” schools will actually be able to improve because they will now be able to tell kids that they will play on ESPN rather than Fox Sports Tennessee or wherever else. I am not happy with the demise of the Big East but when the Big East was founded nobody thought much of it either. I do think that eventually UCONN will get invited either to the ACC or the Big 10 depending on how the Maryland court case goes with the ACC. If the exit fee stays as high as it is Maryland may decide not to go to the Big 10 thus creating a spot and if they get the fee lowered far enough other teams may leave the ACC creating a spot. Eventually I see four super conferences of 16 teams each to compete for the football national championship and UCONN will get in one of them.

    1. UConn Husky Dan

      If the exit fee stays at $50million than it’s not going to stop Maryland from going to the Big Ten — that’s a done deal. They will make up that money in a few years of added revenue in the Big Ten. They aren’t going to ever go back to the ACC based on that decision. What the outcome of that settlement will do (if it’s let’s say cut in half), however, will make it more enticing for OTHER teams to leave the ACC for greener pastures – free agency if you will.

  7. UCONNFB

    Listen, going with the “Catholic Schools” is no great deal. No Syracuse, Pitt, Louisville, ND, Rutgers….
    Big deal getting to play DePaul, St John’s, Seton Hall….
    Sure Marquette, Georgetown and Villanova can be quality competition and occassionally Top 20 nationally. Once the BE teams started bolting for other Conferences it was over. PS–Butler and Xavier are not perenial power houses either.

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