For the first time in decades, UConn fans know that their season will come to an end in early March with no chance of even a cursory participation in March Madness. It's like rooting for Providence.
The NCAA Tournament ban - and attendant Big East Tournament ban, as the conference understandably doesn't even want the possibility of its champion being ineligible for the NCAAs, as unlikely as that is - thankfully lasts just one year, but it does take a bit of the urgency out of this season. It's just, like, we're gonna play some games, and then, like, we're gonna go home. Does any of this mean anything, man?
On the other hand, the Huskies will have several measures of success in their regular season schedule. There is a preseason tournament, there are several marquee non-conference names, and of course, there are our old Big East friends who will be looking to get one last shot in before they head off to play third and fourth banana behind Duke and North Carolina.
Here's your 2012-13 UConn basketball schedule grid, complete with date, time, site, and TV information. Note that KP is each opponent's preseason Pomeroy ranking (UConn is 45th, if you're curious), while Big East games are in italics.
|Fri, Nov. 9||5:30 p.m.||vs. Michigan State||4||Ramstein AFB, Germany||ESPN|
|Tues, Nov. 13||7 p.m.||Vermont||127||Gampel Pavilion||SNY|
|Fri, Nov. 16||6:30 p.m.||vs. Wake Forest||206||St. Thomas, USVI||CBS Sports Net|
|Sat, Nov. 17||TBD||Paradise Jam||-----||St. Thomas, USVI||TBD|
|Sun, Nov. 18||TBD||Paradise Jam||-----||St. Thomas, USVI||TBD|
|Sun, Nov. 25||4 p.m.||Stony Brook||165||Gampel Pavilion||SNY|
|Thurs, Nov. 29||7 p.m.||New Hampshire||283||XL Center||SNY|
|Tues, Dec. 4||9 p.m.||vs. NC State||24||New York, NY||ESPN|
|Fri, Dec. 7||7 p.m.||Harvard||92||Gampel Pavilion||SNY|
|Mon, Dec. 17||7 p.m.||MD-Eastern Shore||341||XL Center||SNY|
|Fri, Dec. 21||7 p.m.||Fordham||225||XL Center||SNY|
|Sat, Dec. 29||7:30 p.m.||Washington||69||XL Center||ESPN2|
|Tue, Jan. 1||8 p.m.||at Marquette||32||Milwaukee, WI||ESPNU|
|Tue, Jan. 8||7 p.m.||DePaul||100||Gampel Pavilion||SNY|
|Sat, Jan. 12||2 p.m.||at Notre Dame||17||South Bend, IN||SNY|
|Mon, Jan. 14||7 p.m.||Louisville||8||XL Center||ESPN|
|Sat, Jan. 19||12 p.m.||at Pittsburgh||22||Pittsburgh, PA||ESPN2|
|Sun, Jan. 27||2 p.m.||Rutgers||52||XL Center||SNY|
|Thurs, Jan. 31||7 p.m.||at Providence||75||Providence, RI||ESPN/ESPN2|
|Sun, Feb. 3||2 p.m.||South Florida||73||Gampel Pavilion||SNY|
|Wed, Feb. 6||7 p.m.||at St. John's||86||New York, NY||ESPNU|
|Sun, Feb. 10||12 p.m.||at Seton Hall||81||Newark, NJ||SNY|
|Wed, Feb. 13||7 p.m.||Syracuse||7||XL Center||ESPN/ESPN2|
|Sat, Feb. 16||12 p.m.||Villanova||65||XL Center||ESPN/ESPN2|
|Thurs, Feb. 21||7 p.m.||Cincinnati||27||XL Center||ESPN/ESPN2|
|Sat, Feb. 23||8 p.m.||at DePaul||100||Rosemont, IL||SNY|
|Wed, Feb. 27||7 p.m.||Georgetown||33||Gampel Pavilion||ESPN2|
|Sat, Mar. 2||2 p.m.||at Cincinnati||27||Cincinnati, OH||SNY|
|Wed, Mar. 6||9 p.m.||at South Florida
|Sat, Mar. 9||12 p.m.||Providence||75||
Here are the top five points of interest regarding the Huskies' 2012-13 campaign:
- The game on the Air Force base in Germany tonight, obviously, is a really cool honor. And it happens to coincide with 30% of the roster being German, so even better. And it happens to be Michigan State, who figures to be one of the better teams in the country this season. UConn will likely start the season 0-1 for the first time in ages, but we'll get a really good indication of how well they can hang with better teams at this early juncture.
- The Paradise Jam is an eminently winnable tournament for the Huskies. If they're able to get by a Wake program mired in a downswing, they'll play the Quinnipiac-Iona winner. On the other side of the bracket, Mercer plays George Mason (DUN DUN DUN), while Illinois-Chicago plays New Mexico. The Lobos are likely the best team in the field, so it would be nice to win two games and get another quality opponent.
- The Dec. 4 game is the second half of a Madison Square Garden doubleheader as part of the Jimmy V Classic. Texas and Georgetown meet in the 7 p.m. game. The Wolfpack are the preseason favorite in the ACC, according to the league's media poll and NOT some guy in Raleigh watching the Lorenzo Charles play over and over.
- I know Andrew's touched on this before, but that three-game XL Center swing in the heart of the February Big East schedule just KILLS me. In the end, I don't think a struggling team fills up Gampel or the XL, just because that's how Connecticut sports fans are. (For more, see tonight's football game.) But man, UConn, you could at least pretend like you understand that the XL Center is the absolute worst. Because it is.
- We'll do our fair share of trolling Pitt and Syracuse fans throughout the year, including when they lose two rounds earlier than they should in the NCAA Tournament, but this season is even sadder when you consider that this will be the final year the Big East is really the BIG EAST. For the last seven seasons, this conference has been the absolute best; better, I would postulate, than it was even in its mid-80s heyday. It will remain a solid conference, likely one of the top three in the country annually with the additions of Memphis and Temple. And it will still be home to many teams we hate (hi Georgetown!). But with Syracuse and Pitt soon to depart, a very notable, fun-as-hell era is about to end. Here's hoping UConn joins you on the other side sometime soon.