The college basketball season is officially underway. The top four teams in the country kicked off the season with the Champions Classic tournament at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night ahead of 39 other opening night matchups. The UConn men’s team opens its season Friday night against Sacred Heart on campus, while the women don’t start until they host Cal Sunday afternoon. So that begs the question: Which UConn game are you most excited for this year? The DC Sports staff gives its takes in this week’s roundtable.
Danny Barletta – Staff Writer
I know it may be the obvious answer, but I can’t wait for the men’s Florida game on Nov. 17. After two warm-up games, the Huskies get challenged right away with the preseason No. 6 team in the country. This is a huge game for a UConn team that will likely be on the bubble come tournament time. One of the most important things for bubble teams is quality wins, and UConn has the chance to pick one up right away against a top-10 team. I’m not sure whether the Huskies can win this game, but how they play against one of the best teams in the nation with the home Gampel crowd behind them will be a good gauge on how this season will likely go. I can’t wait to take in this game next Sunday.
Andrew Morrison – Sports Editor
On the men’s side, there are a bunch of viable answers here, from the meeting with an extremely-hyped Memphis team to the Gators at Gampel to the last nonconference matchup with Villanova for, hopefully, eternity. But I’m going with the Dec. 10 game against Indiana, played in the most historic basketball arena in the world, Madison Square Garden. I still get chills thinking back to last year’s victory over Syracuse at the Garden, and though UConn-Indiana doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, there’s just something about that place that elevates the stakes of any game. And with that said, do you know the last time UConn faced Indiana? A thrilling 59-58 win at the Garden in 2013, when senior Shabazz Napier went MSG-Kemba on the Hoosiers and dropped 27 points. The only problem with this year’s Garden visit? It’s right square in the middle of finals week, meaning it’ll be a tough sell for students. But hey, seeing UConn at the Garden? That’s well worth a lower final grade, I’d say.
Jorge Eckardt – Staff Writer
There’s only one right answer to this, and it’s the one that every UConn basketball fan has had circled on their calendars since the AP rankings came out. When the women’s team takes on Oregon at Gampel on Feb. 3: It’ll be time for them to take back the No. 1 spot that has been theirs for so many years. They’ll host star Sabrina Ionescu and her fellow ducks in what should be the most exciting game in women’s college basketball all season. Sure, they’ll already have had taken on some top-notch opponents like Notre Dame and Baylor by the time the Ducks waddle their way into town, but this Oregon team is supposed to be the best there is, and the Huskies deserve to play nothing less than the best.
Sean Janos – Staff Writer
Muffet McGraw danced all over the Huskies’ grave after defeating them in the NCAA Tournament Final Four game for the second straight season. Geno Auriemma is going to be out for blood. While UConn will be without Napheesa Collier and Katie Lou Samuelson, The Irish won’t be returning a single player from last year’s starting five. Regardless, Notre Dame is ranked No. 16 in the preseason and will likely compete for another tournament bid this season. UConn won the regular season game last season, and though that didn’t help them in the tournament, I doubt Auriemma is going to hold anything back again this season. There’s a lot of bad blood in this rivalry, so I’m excited to see these two women’s basketball powerhouses duke it out on Dec. 8.