Huskies packing their bags early

In some ways, the UConn men's basketball schedule, which was released on Wednesday, is unlike any other during coach Jim Calhoun's tenure in Storrs.

There are several firsts and lasts.

UConn opens by playing the first NCAA regular-season game in Europe, facing Michigan State in the Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 9 at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

The Huskies, who are banned from postseason play for the first time due to a sub-standard APR, will complete their season March 9 against Providence in Storrs.

As far as lasts, they face Syracuse and Pittsburgh, two teams heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference, for the final time as Big East foes. They visit Pittsburgh on Jan. 19 and host Syracuse on Feb. 13 in Hartford.

And this possibly could be Calhoun's last season. He's contemplating retirement but by all indications will be on the sidelines this season.

November will be a busy travel month for the Huskies who, a week after playing in Germany, compete in the Paradise Jam at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They open the tournament against Wake Forest on Nov. 16.

The first chance for Husky fans to see check out the 2012-13 team - outside of two exhibitions against American International College Nov. 1 and UMass-Lowell on Nov. 4 - will be in the home opener on Nov. 13 against Vermont at Gampel Pavilion.

It will be one of only seven regular-season games at Gampel Pavilion.

The nine other home games will be at the XL Center in Hartford.

The Huskies begin the Big East schedule on the road, visiting Marquette on Jan. 1 in Milwaukee.

Other games of note include non-conference meetings with North Carolina State on Dec. 4 in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden and Washington on Dec. 29 in Hartford.

It will be UConn's first appearance in the Jimmy V Classic.

Overall, the Huskies will play at least 13 games versus teams that qualified for NCAA tournament last season. Their local television schedule and times will be determined at a later date.

g.keefe@theday.com

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