Blog Entry

UConn treads light in non-conference play

Posted on: August 1, 2011 3:15 pm
Edited on: August 1, 2011 3:27 pm
By Matt Norlander

Are the Huskies anticipating a championship hangover?

If so, no blame from me. Heck, I still can't believe that team won it all last March.

Without Kemba Walker -- and, hey, look at that: it's August and Jim Calhoun still hasn't publicly announced he's returning -- I can't fault the program for going lighter in the non-conference slate. There are a lot of variables in play with this year's team. Chief among them: a fairly young collective assemblance of talent.

Jeremy Lamb (right) is not going to be the on-my-shoulders kind of player Walker was. He'll be good, a possible NBA lottery pick, but not an alpha on the court or on the locker room; expect that role from Alex Oriakhi, who will be solid, but not a Big East First Team kind of guy. Shabazz Napier, hopefully, will improve, and then there's the athletic freak that is Ryan Boatright, and incoming elite freshman recruit who has a lot of ability but just as many question marks.

Remember last season, at the start, when UConn wasn't considered all that solid? We can expect that kind of thinking again, right or wrong. What we do know: Kemba's gone, and so who is going to make this team go?

Taking all these things into consideration, would you fault the program for going lighter than normal in its out-of-conference schedule? Again, I wouldn't. These things seems practical, pragmatic, even, in the hot days of summer, when coaches sweat out filling out schedules. Come late February, though, when a team's amassed a 19-11 record, it doesn't seem like the way to go. It's always easier to take the paycheck and schedule a Patriot League school in the middle of July.

So what exactly are we looking at for UConn's OOC? The school released it today. Here it is:
  • Nov. 2 (exh.) AIC
  • Nov. 6 (exh.) CW Post
  • Nov. 11 Columbia
  • Nov. 14 Wagner
  • Nov. 17 Maine
  • Nov. 20 Coppin State
  • Nov. 24-26 Battle 4 Atlantis (Bahamas) UConn, Harvard, Florida State, Utah, Massachusetts, Central Florida, College of Charleston, UNC-Asheville
  • Dec. 3 Arkansas (BIG EAST/SEC Challenge)
  • Dec. 7 Harvard
  • Dec. 18 Holy Cross
  • Dec. 22 Fairfield
  • Jan. 21 at Tennessee
It's not going to be the most offensive OOC slate among BCS teams. I do wonder if it's one of the weaker ones in the past decade for a defending national champion, though.

New lessons will need to be learned for this team, and many coaches would much prefer easier opponents to deal with while teaching those lessons. With the Big East sending 11 to the Dance last season, the Huskies are going to have enough challenge within the conference (they finished ninth in 2010-11, remember), so keep that in mind as well.

What seems rational: a ninth-place Big East finish in 2012, with this non-con menu, probably isn't going to cut it.

Photo: AP
Category: NCAAB

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: August 4, 2011 2:28 pm

UConn treads light in non-conference play

Uconn did not have the toughest OOC schedule last year. ranked their OOC schedule #47, I believe.

That is a joke of a non-conference schedule. So it goes. Teams have shown that it really makes no difference who you play in the non-con schedule once you get in the tourney. Did VCU's joke of a non-con schedule last year hurt them? No.

Kansas has unquestionably the toughest non-con schedule of all major programs this upcoming year (especially after losing seven players from last year).

Since: Dec 30, 2009
Posted on: August 3, 2011 4:44 pm

UConn treads light in non-conference play

UConn went undefeated out OOC last season and played the hardest OOC schedule.  They were also undefeated in all tourny games, they can choose to play whoever they want... How's Moorehead state??

Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:27 am

UConn treads light in non-conference play

Understandable really, isn't it? And can't say I blame Calhoun at all, if just after winning the championship, and losing some very key players from that team, knowing every team on the '11-12 schedule will be gunning for you - cut it back with that young team, get some positive experience with the non-conf schedule before jumping into their Big East schedule. After all, Calhoun ain't no fool.

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: August 1, 2011 11:09 pm

UConn treads light in non-conference play

Why not add a few High Schools & girls Academies...ya Bunch of Pussies... Hey--It works for Syracuse all these years ..Why not ??   Hope ya drop a few tho--  Nice seeing the "bullies" get biten on the Butt ---& They will  !!!

Since: Nov 27, 2009
Posted on: August 1, 2011 10:27 pm

UConn treads light in non-conference play

12-0 nice!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or