Connecticut's transition to the American Athletic Conference made it clear, the amount of competitive conference games would decrease drastically. UConn wasn't playing in the Big East anymore, they were going to have to grab more resume building victories out of conference.
The Huskies made a point of scheduling stiff nonconference competitors, adding Ohio State, Arizona, Florida, Syracuse, Texas, Georgetown, Duke, and others to their schedule. They also accepted invitations to compete in major pre-season tournaments such as, Battle 4 Atlantis, Maui Invitational, and the Nike Elite Tournament. Those tournaments are riddled with college basketball powers such as, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Kentucky, and others.
Faculty within the UConn basketball have done a fantastic job scheduling marquee match-ups for Kevin Ollie's bunch, but here at The Husky Army we want to see some new names on future nonconference schedules. Below we have compiled a list of three programs we want UConn to schedule for a home-and-home series, comment your thoughts and ideas below!
If the Huskies were to schedule the Jayhawks to a home-and-home our reaction would look something like this...
Seriously, it would be amazing if the Huskies booked the Jayhawks for future schedules.
First off, the atmosphere in each programs respective buildings would be electric. Allen Fieldhouse is one of the rowdiest and best environments in all of college basketball. Regularly, sixteen thousand fans pack into Allen Fieldhouse to push their beloved Jayhawks to the finish line in triumphant fashion. On the other hand, Husky fans know how to show up for the important games. Hypothetically, if the Huskies and Jayhawks took the floor at Gampel Pavilion on a Saturday night, the energy in that building would be unparallelled. Those are the environments fans live for, the energy they so desperately want to thrive off, that is what this series would provide fans.
Secondly, the Jayhawks have been one of the most successful programs in college basketball history. Since competing in their first game in 1898, the Jayhawks have won three NCAA Tournament Championships, appearing in the NCAA Tournament Final Four a total of fourteen times. Kansas also has dominated the Big 12 Conference, winning the Big 12 Regular Season Championship every season since 2005.
The Connecticut Huskies have a tad of history themselves, winning four NCAA Tournament Championships since 1999, more than any other program in the country. Whenever college basketball giants like Kansas and UConn square off on the hardwood, fans across the nation turn their attention to that contest.
The Big East Conference disbanded only a few years ago, one of the harshest blows ever delivered in the University of Connecticut's history. Schools fled the conference leaving behind budding rivalries for a few extra dollars. One rivalry that was found unsalvageable in the detritus was Pittsburgh and Connecticut on the hardwood. These dormant foes need to find a way to play, and rehash old grudges.
From 2000-2010, UConn and Pittsburgh duked it out in some classic Big East thrillers. Both teams were in the upper echelon of the Big East from 2000-2010, competing in many ranked match-ups. In fact, the Big East Tournament Championship game from 2002-2004 was a duel between Pittsburgh and UConn. The Huskies took two of three Big East Championships in that span. Fans may recall Taliek Brown's dagger three-pointer from deep in 2002 and Ben Gordon's heroics in the 2004 Big East Tournament. College basketball fans across the country may remember the last time these two programs squared off in the Big East Tournament, if not, the clip below should refresh their memories.
Pittsburgh and UConn almost always participated in a grind it out thrilling basketball game. Here at The Husky Army, we are chomping at the bit to see the Panthers visit Connecticut once again.
The Blue Devils are a program that everyone in the nation wants the chance to battle. Constantly, mainstream media and their obnoxious coterie of fans push down your throat the tremendous success they have experienced. Duke is a standard of excellence in college basketball, something smaller programs aspire to be, consistent winners. Beating Duke gives a team credibility, energizes the fanbase, and shocks the world.
UConn has proved they can hang with mighty Duke, topping the Blue Devils in the 1999 NCAA Tournament Championship, in the 2004 Final Four, and also on two other occasions. All of their 10 meetings on the basketball court, have been memorable and most have been competitive contests. You can recall Christian Laettner killing the Dream Season, Rod Sellers cracking skulls, the 1999 underdog story, stories both Duke and UConn fans hold onto dearly.
Whenever high-caliber teams with that much history compete on the basketball floor, serious national interest is drawn. Duke never schedules road games, but imagine attending a Duke versus UConn game at Gampel Pavilion, I'm salivating too.