Roundtable: Best game on UConn MBB Schedule

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie reacts during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against South Florida, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

The UConn men’s basketball schedule was released over the weekend and featured several high-profile games on its home slate, including Villanova and Wichita State at the XL Center. The DC Sports staff debates which scheduled game is the most exciting or interesting in this week’s edition of the Roundtable.

Chris Hanna - Associate Sports Editor

For me, there is no question that the best game on this schedule is a matchup with Villanova at the XL Center on January 20, 2018. Villanova is the best talent the Huskies have faced in years and renews an old Big East rivalry that long-time fans will feel quite nostalgic about. Some of my best memories as a fan of UConn have come against Villanova and I’m looking forward to more great memories in this three-year series. Although Villanova has a far more impressive roster than the Huskies, I think the rivalry game will bring out the best of the fans and the team.

Josh Buser - Staff Writer

The most interesting game on the schedule is the home opener against Colgate. This is something that every coach in the country would say in cliché remarks about their respective team, but it’s actually meaningful when UConn is coming off a season in which they lost to WAGNER in their first game. Almost exactly a year later, the Huskies will get to prove their worth this season in front of a packed Gampel Pavilion crowd. While games like Wichita State and Villanova are great for UConn, let’s see if they can beat teams like Colgate first.

Dylan Barrett - Campus Correspondent

Villanova took the top overall seed in the 2017 NCAA tournament and won the 2016 National Championship, making them UConn’s most anticipated and formidable opponent this season. The Huskies will certainly be circling this matchup with the Wildcats on their calendars. The Huskies’ schedule has lacked a plethora of strong opponents in recent years, so taking on one of the nation’s top teams will attract significant attention to Storrs. Kevin Ollie’s squad will have the opportunity to prove how they can hang with the best that college basketball has to offer. Of course, if UConn struggles during the first half of the season, this matchup might become one that fans dread, but a competitive team will make it a must-watch event. This will also be the only chance UConn fans have to catch this clash in Connecticut, so the XL Center should be rocking on January 20th.

Jorge Eckardt - Campus Correspondent

Wichita State went into the NCAA Tournament last year as a No. 10 seed and knocked out No. 7 seed Dayton in the first round, only to fall to No. 2 seed Kentucky by just one possession in the second round. Now, moving up from the Missouri Valley Conference to The American, Wichita State is going to want to make a mark. This game will be crucial to UConn as they will want to show the Wichita State team that they are the team to beat in its new conference. UConn will also be playing in front of minimal home support because the game takes place on December 20th over winter break, when most students will be home for the holidays, so it will be interesting to see how they find the energy that is normally provided by the fans.  

Kevin Arnold - Campus Correspondent

No game on UConn’s schedule stands out more to me than the December 5th matchup with Syracuse. With the game being played at Madison Square Garden this will be the biggest stage the Huskies will play on this season, barring a NCAA tournament run in March of course. This game also renews an old Big East rivalry that never fails to disappoint as last year's matchup was decided by two late free throws from guard Christian Vital. The location makes it tough for students to attend the game but the fans that can make it will make it, as the stage is set for a great night of basketball. The biggest stages tend to bring out the best in players so I’m excited to see what Jalen Adams and company bring to the table.   

Kayla Sinkevitch - Campus Correspondent

Despite tough opponents like Wichita State and Villanova, I have to say that the matchup against Syracuse will be most exciting to me. The Huskies will be playing in one of the most iconic arenas in the country, and although the student crowd won’t be as big as they’re used to at home, the energy that comes with playing at MSG will surely make up for it. With such a tight win last year against the Orange, it will be interesting to see if the Huskies can secure a win or leave it up to the last few seconds like last season. This game is also relatively early in the Huskies’ season and could really set the tone for the rest of the season with big opponents like Wichita State to follow.

Brandon Carney - Campus Correspondent

I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this one yet, but the Huskies game at Arizona is the most interesting one of the season for me. This is by far UConn’s toughest road game and if they can take down the Wildcats in their own building, that would be a huge marquee win. The Huskies beating a team led by Alonzo Trier and freshman phenom DeAndre Ayton would be a bigger victory than any they had last season.