Don't expect to see an environment like this this year.
Every year the same thing happens: UConn releases it's men's basketball schedule and the fans complain about the continued existence of the XL Center. When they're done with that and accepting of the harsh reality of its existence, the fans move on to complain about the split between games played in Hartford and in Storrs. I expect that same pattern to happen this year, but with one difference: the complaining should be louder and longer because UConn has released the worst basketball schedule I have ever seen the school put out.
I don't need to remind you that UConn's going to have a down year. The roster is depleted and without a chance at the postseason it is going to take a herculean effort to get fans to buy tickets. Faced with that reality you would expect UConn to schedule as many games as possible in Gampel Pavilion, a place that can move tickets based on atmosphere alone. Instead, the school did the exact opposite, scheduling only seven of the school's 16 regular season games on campus. What's worse is that only four of those games are against Big East opponents and three of those four opponents are DePaul, USF and Providence, the dregs of the conference. Georgetown will play in Storrs, and the school should get credit for that, but Louisville, Villanova, and most importantly Syracuse -- in their conference game against UConn -- will all play in the XL Center.
It's painfully obvious what UConn was thinking here: they're going to get absolutely destroyed on season ticket sales, so they'll pack three of the biggest name games into Hartford and hope to pick up extra sales on the XL Center's 16,000 person capacity (against just 10,000 for Gampel). Then, they'll hope Gampel will take care of itself no matter who's playing. UConn can try this, but I have my doubts. Maybe they'll sell out the Syracuse game. Maybe. Other than that, I bet there will be open seats for every Husky game this year.
But hey, maybe I'm wrong and the strategy will work -- I still hope it doesn't. Even before it starts this season is guaranteed to be a disappointment and now UConn is placing a quick buck ahead of fan experience and that's the type of thing that creates lasting damage. I love UConn basketball as much as anyone, but if I lived in Connecticut I would refuse to buy season tickets this year and make it clear to the school that my objection was the scheduling. I hope other UConn fans do the same.
If you want to see the worst part, look to February, where UConn has a rare three-game home stand right in the middle of college basketball's most important regular-season month. They're hosting Syracuse and then Villanova and then Cincinnati. And they're hosting all three of them in Hartford. It's a naked grab for cash that probably will, and definitely should, fail. If there is one consolation it is that UConn cannot possible do any worse.
Full schedule is after the jump.
- 11/01/12 vs. American International # Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Conn. TBA
- 11/04/12 vs. UMass-Lowell # XL Center, Hartford, Conn. TBA
- 11/09/12 vs. Michigan State Ramstein Air Base, Germany 5:30 p.m.
- 11/13/12 vs. Vermont Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Conn. TBA
- U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam
- 11/16/12 vs. Wake Forest St. Thomas, U.S. V.I. 6:30 p.m.
- 11/17/12 Iona or Quinnipiac St. Thomas, U.S. V.I. TBA
- 11/19/12 TBD St. Thomas, U.S. V.I. TBA
- 11/25/12 vs. Stony Brook Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Conn. TBA
- 11/29/12 vs. New Hampshire XL Center, Hartford, Conn. TBA
- Jimmy V Classic
- 12/04/12 vs. North Carolina State Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y. 9:00 p.m.
- 12/07/12 vs. Harvard Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Conn. TBA
- 12/17/12 vs. Maryland Eastern Shore XL Center, Hartford, Conn. TBA
- 12/21/12 vs. Fordham XL Center, Hartford, Conn. TBA
- 12/29/12 vs. Washington XL Center, Hartford, Conn. 7:30 p.m.
- 01/01/13 at Marquette * Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisc. 8:00 p.m.
- 01/08/13 vs. DePaul * Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Conn. TBA
- 01/12/13 at Notre Dame * Purcell Pavilion, Notre Dame, Ind. 2:00 p.m.
- 01/14/13 vs. Louisville * XL Center, Hartford, Conn. 7:00 p.m.
- 01/19/13 at Pittsburgh * Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, Pa. 1:00 p.m.
- 01/27/13 vs. Rutgers * XL Center, Hartford, Conn. 2:00 p.m.
- 01/31/13 at Providence * Dunkin' Donuts Center, Providence, R.I. 7:00 p.m.
- 02/03/13 vs. USF * Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Conn. 2:00 p.m.
- 02/06/13 at St. John's * Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y. 7:00 p.m.
- 02/10/13 at Seton Hall * Prudential Center, Newark, N.J. TBA
- 02/13/13 vs. Syracuse * XL Center, Hartford, Conn. 7:00 p.m.
- 02/16/13 vs. Villanova * XL Center, Hartford, Conn. 12:00 p.m.
- 02/21/13 vs. Cincinnati * XL Center, Hartford, Conn. 7:00 p.m.
- 02/23/13 at DePaul * Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Ill. 8:00 p.m.
- 02/27/13 vs. Georgetown * Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Conn. 7:00 p.m.
- 03/02/13 at Cincinnati * Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio 2:00 p.m.
- 03/06/13 at USF * Sun Dome, Tampa, Fla. 9:00 p.m.
- 03/09/13 vs. Providence * Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, Conn. 12:00 p.m.
# - Exhibition Games
* - Conference Games