Duke, Florida and Stanford are attention-grabbing names on a basketball schedule, and the defending national champion UConn Huskies will have to be road warriors to beat all three this season.
The Huskies' non-league schedule came out this week, and with the exception of Texas at home, the program's key games outside the American Athletic Conference will be on the road, including a neutral site date against Duke in December at the Izod Center in New Jersey along with traveling to Florida and Stanford in January.
All four opponents are expected to be preseason top 25 selections.
UConn also plays in the Puerto Rico Tip Off, which starts Nov. 20 against College of Charleston in San Juan, and the Huskies could face Elite Eight participant Dayton on the second day. Boston College, West Virginia, Texas A&M, George Mason and New Mexico are also in the field.
The Huskies also play two preseason home games with Southern Connecticut State (Nov. 4) and Assumption College (Nov. 9).
Here's a sneak peek at what's ahead for the Huskies this season (home games have not been assigned sites, but they'll play at either Gampel Pavilion, XL Center or Webster Bank Arena):
14 -- Bryant: The Bulldogs, who have posted back-to-back winning seasons in the Northeast Conference, are not shy about opening night scheduling -- two years ago, they started at preseason No. 1 Indiana. Coach Tim Shea's staff includes former BC coach Al Skinner. Senior guard Dyami Starks can pour in the points, 18.9 per game ranking third in NEC.
20 -- College of Charleston, 2:30 p.m., at Puerto Rico Tip Off: The Cougars had a crazy summer with coach Doug Wojcik fired after being accused of verbal and physical abuse. Former Fairfield director of basketball operations Antonio Reynolds Dean was named interim coach, but he might not be the guy in November. Senior Adjehi Baru, a 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 9.0 points and 7.5 rebounds last season. UConn plays either Dayton or A&M in the second round.
30 -- Texas: With five starters back from a team that went to the NCAA tournament, the Longhorns figure to be a favorite in the Big 12. Sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor (12.7 ppg) and the frontcourt of Jonathan Holmes (12.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Cameron Ridley (11.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg) will be a handful for the Huskies.
5 -- Yale: The Bulldogs gave UConn a good challenge a year ago, but this time around, Bridgeport's Brandon Sherrod will miss the game. He's taking the year off to sing with the a capella group known as The Whiffenpoofs. Yale finished second in the Ivy League last season and could be the favorite this winter.
14 -- Coppin State: The Eagles appear to be in rebuilding mode with new coach Michael Grant taking over a program that hasn't had a winning season since 2010-11.
18 -- vs. Duke, 8 p.m. at Izod Center: Not much needs to be said about this meeting, but the Huskies have won four of the last five games. Coach K returns a seasoned backcourt in Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon, who combined to average 21.5 points and 6.8 assists a year ago. Duke also has one of the top recruiting classes coming in with four McDonald's All-Americans.Read Full Article
22 -- Columbia: The Lions went to the postseason (CollegeInsider.com Tournament) for the first time in 46 years and return 6-7 senior forward Alex Rosenberg (16.0 ppg) and junior guard Maodo Lo (14.7 ppg).
28 Central Connecticut State: Kevin Ollie goes against his old assistant coach Howie Dickenman, but the Huskies will have to contain senior guard Kyle Vinales, who is the NEC's leading active scorer with 1,514 career points.
3 -- at Florida: The Huskies owned the Gators last season with wins at Gampel and in the Final Four. Phil Nolan will be glad Patric Young is no longer on the roster as the Gators lost four starters from a 36-win team. Michael Frazier II (12.4 ppg) and reserve Dorian Finney-Smith (8.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg) are the top returning players.
17 -- at Stanford: The Cardinal handed UConn its first loss of the season a year ago and come off a Sweet 16 appearance. Johnny Dawkins' roster includes guard Chasson Randle (18.8 ppg) and swingman Anthony Brown (12.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) along with a strong recruiting class.