With Saturday’s slated game against NC State canceled, it’s possible UConn could schedule a game for Monday or Tuesday to get in one final non-conference bout before its Big East schedule is slated to begin on Friday at home against St. John’s. Prior to the NC State cancellation, a source noted that “a college basketball entity” was looking for an opponent to match with UConn for Monday, though it seemed unlikely at the time.
Perhaps it’s more likely now.
Don’t expect any ACC teams (Syracuse, Boston College), as they’ll be playing ACC/Big Ten Challenge games on Tuesday. Here are five potential opponents for UConn on Monday or Tuesday:
Photo: Jessica Hill / Associated Press
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Why it could happen: The Rams beat Seton Hall on Wednesday and aren’t scheduled to play again until Dec. 13 at Western Kentucky, an 11-day break in action. Geographically, it’s perfect. Dan Hurley said on Wednesday that the Huskies were looking for a “really good game” for early next week, and the 3-2 Rams are good (witness that win over Seton Hall). Hurley, who coached URI for six seasons before departing for UConn in 2018, has said in the past he probably wouldn’t want to schedule the Rams. But in 2020, with no fans in the building, might this be the time to do it?
Why it couldn’t happen: Hurley said some of his best basketball memories happened in his six seasons in Kingston. He still has close ties to the program – players he recruited and, of course, head coach David Cox, whom Hurley championed to take over his job. Hurley and his brother, Bobby, have both said they’d likely never schedule each other while Bobby was head coach at Arizona State. Hurley doesn’t have any family by blood at URI, but he certainly has members of his basketball family there.
Why it could happen: On Friday afternoon, longtime college basketball journalist Andy Katz tweeted that Richmond could be making the trip to Storrs for a game on Monday, provided everything was cleared medically on both sides. Not long after Katz’s tweet, a UConn program source told Hearst Connecticut Media that the game against Richmond was “highly unlikely,” in part because of the quick turnaround from Saturday’s NC State game to Monday. Of course, no such turnaround exists now. The 18th-ranked Spiders beat Kentucky at Rupp Arena, so they would more than qualify as a “good game.” A very good game.
Why it couldn’t happen: Richmond has a small lineup that employs backdoor screens and cuts that can be baffling for a team that hasn’t faced such an offense yet. In that sense, the Spiders could be a very bad matchup for a young-ish UConn team still trying to find itself.
Why it could happen: Iona, coached by Hall of Famer Rick Pitino, has had a bunch of games canceled already, and you know Pitino is itching to get back into the flow. He certainly wouldn’t shy away from a trip to Storrs, and he’ll be in Connecticut next week anyway for games on Friday and Saturday at Quinnipiac.
Why it couldn’t happen: The Gaels announced on Saturday that they’ll be hosting Morgan State on Tuesday, so there’s virtually no way they’d play back-to-back games.
Why it could happen: The Minutemen are right up the road and have some young talent.
Why it couldn’t happen: UMass has yet to play a game due to COVID-19 issues and were still in quarantine this week. The program said on Nov. 29 that it hoped to “have our team back together next weekend and playing games at some point the following week.” UMass is slated to begin Atlantic-10 play on Wednesday at La Salle.
Why it could happen: The Bobcats are the only Connecticut-based team that could likely swing it. Fairfield and Hartford play Monday, Sacred Heart is under quarantine until at least Friday, Central Connecticut State already played the Huskies on Nov. 25, and Yale’s entire season is canceled.
Why it couldn’t happen: Quinnipiac plays New Hampshire on Sunday, and while perhaps a Tuesday game in Storrs could be scheduled, there had been no contact between the programs throughout the past 8 ½ months about possibly scheduling a game and it would seem rather unlikely at this point.