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    Monday, March 04, 2024

    College basketball powers highlight UConn men’s non-conference schedule

    In this April 3 file photo, UConn center Donovan Clingan hugs head coach Dan Hurley after the men's national championship game in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

    Defending national champion UConn will play its most challenging non-conference schedule in years this upcoming season.

    College basketball powers Kansas, North Carolina, Gonzaga and Indiana top the list of opponents. The Huskies also will play either Texas or Louisville.

    Another highlight is that three non-conference games will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York, UConn’s home away from home.

    The 2023-24 season begins on Monday, Nov. 6, when Northern Arizona visits in a first-time meeting.

    Times and locations for home games will be released in the future.

    The Huskies are coming off a 31-8 season during which they won the program’s fifth national championship.

    Blessed a strong group of returning players and a top five nationally ranked recruiting class, UConn will be tested early on.

    UConn heads to Madison Square Garden for the Empire Classic, facing Indiana on Nov. 19 and then playing either Texas or Louisville on Nov. 20.

    Circle Dec. 1 on the calendar because that’s when UConn visits Kansas in a Big East-Big 12 showdown between the last two national champions at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. It also will be the Huskies’ first true road game.

    Four days later, UConn will be back at MSG playing North Carolina on Dec. 5 in the Jimmy V Classic.

    In its last non-conference game of the season, UConn will travel to Seattle to play Gonzaga on Dec. 15 at Climate Pledge Arena in a rematch between the 2023 NCAA West Region final foes. The Huskies posted a convincing 82-54 win in Las Vegas.

    While there is plenty for UConn fans to be excited about when it comes to road game opponents, the non-conference home schedule lacks star power.

    Besides Northern Arizona, the Huskies also host Stonehill on Nov. 11, Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 14, Manhattan on Nov. 24, New Hampshire on Nov. 27 and Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 9. Manhattan is led by former Hartford coach John Gallagher.

    The 20-game Big East schedule will be announced at a later date.

    g.keefe@theday.com

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