UConn's non-conference schedule last year left most fans disappointed. The Huskies did well to join the Battle 4 Atlantis and schedule Maryland in the Jimmy V Classic. They also brought in some opponents fans cared about in Georgetown, Texas and Ohio State, but the bottom was ugly.
In the 2015 final Ken Pomeroy rankings, five of UConn's opponents were below 200 (out of 351) and four of those five were below 300.
Beating up on Maine (345 in those rankings) isn't going to help when it comes to what the selection committee looks at come tournament time, but playing New Hampshire (183) and winning 85-66 will. They're functionally the same thing, but the New Hampshire win looks better on the RPI. The Huskies seem to have adjusted accordingly with the recent release of the 2016-'17 non-conference schedule.
This year's non-conference slate has only three opponents ranked below 200 on KenPom, none of which are below 300. The Huskies also have four scheduled games against the top-150, including three inside the top-100. UConn is also guaranteed three more games against the top-150 in the Maui Invitational, provided they do not play Division II host Chaminade.
The Huskies open the season with two exhibitions against New Haven and Southern Connecticut, on October 30 and November 5, respectively. They regular season kicks off at home on November 11, when they play host to the Seahawks of Wagner College (168). Wagner was the regular season champion of the NEC last season.
On November 14, Northeastern (130) will visit Connecticut to face the Huskies. Northeastern last made the NCAA Tournament in 2015, almost upsetting Notre Dame.
UConn will then head west to play Loyola Marymount (226) on November 17 in California in a tune-up game before heading to Hawaii. The Lions went 14-17 last season.
In the Maui Invitational, from November 21-23, the Huskies will play three games against solid competition. The bracket has yet to be announced, but joining UConn in Hawaii will be Georgetown (60), North Carolina (2), Oklahoma State (105), Oregon (12), Tennessee (115), Wisconsin (33) and Division II host Chaminade. The field features four NCAA Tournament teams from last year, a Final Four team, an Elite Eight team and a Sweet Sixteen team.
After Thanksgiving, UConn will host Boston University (216) on November 30, which will be followed by arguably the most anticipated game on the schedule, against Syracuse (24) at Madison Square Garden on December 5. The Huskies and the Orange did battle on Thanksgiving Day in the Battle 4 Atlantis last season for the first time since Syracuse left the crumbling Big East for the ACC. UConn led at the half, 44-39, but Syracuse prevailed, 79-76. The rematch comes at the site of many great battles between the two teams.
In a return trip of a home-and-home, UConn will next go to Columbus, Ohio to face Ohio State on December 10, after a 20-point win at Gampel Pavilion last season.
In its last game before Christmas, UConn will welcome Auburn (213) to Connecticut. The Tigers went 11-20 last season.
UConn will close out the non-conference season on January 14 with a completion of a home-and-home with Georgetown (60) in Washington DC. The Huskies and the Hoyas sold out the XL Center last season, with UConn winning, 68-62.