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UConn men’s basketball announces 2021-22 nonconference schedule

Basketball season is around the corner!

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

A day after the Huskies’ men’s and women’s basketball teams announced they were playing in the Never Forget Tribute Classic in Newark, New Jersey on Dec. 11, UConn men’s basketball announced its non-conference schedule for the upcoming season on Wednesday.

The Huskies begin the season with four winnable games — including the Nov. 9 season opener against CCSU. While the home slate is weak in terms of quality opponents, the road and neutral site games are strong — a major key to help build the Huskies’ NCAA Tournament resume. The Battle 4 Atlantis during Thanksgiving week, which features an opening round game against Auburn and a potential matchup against Michigan State or Loyola-Chicago in round two, gives the Huskies at least one chance for a marquee win.

Combine that with a potential Quad 1 matchup against St. Bonaventure in the Never Forget Tribute Classic on Dec. 11 and Big East-Big 12 Battle matchup on the road at West Virginia three days prior, and there’s some quality competition down the stretch to get UConn ready for their second season in the new Big East.

Overall, it’s a schedule with some top tier opponents and plenty of bottom feeders, including four teams that posted a KenPom rank in the bottom 40 of Division I basketball last season, including CCSU (No. 345 out of 357), Binghamton (No. 325), Maryland Eastern Shore (No. 355), and Grambling State (318).

On the flip side, the Huskies do have big games against the Tigers and the Spartans or Ramblers at the Battle 4 Atlantis and tough road matchup against WVU. Those neutral and away games will be key to building up UConn’s tournament resume, but any home loss in the nonconference could wipe all that progress away.

UConn’s full 2021-22 nonconference schedule is listed below, with each team’s 2020-21 final KenPom rank in brackets.

Tuesday, Nov. 9 Central Connecticut [345]

Saturday, Nov. 13 Coppin State [291]

Wednesday, Nov. 17 LIU [271]

Saturday, Nov. 20 Binghamton [325]

Wednesday, Nov. 24 vs. Auburn (Battle 4 Atlantis) [60]

Thursday, Nov. 25 vs. Michigan State/Loyola-Chicago (Battle 4 Atlantis) [64/10]

Friday, Nov. 26 vs. TBD (Battle 4 Atlantis)

Wednesday, Dec. 1 Maryland-Eastern Shore [355]

Saturday, Dec. 4 Grambling State [318]

Wednesday, Dec. 8 at West Virginia (BIG EAST-Big 12 Battle) [23]

Saturday, Dec. 11 vs. St. Bonaventure (Never Forget Tribute Classic) [32]