The April 1 report that UConn and Maryland will open the season at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York have been confirmed by the parties involved, which means that the two teams will indeed face off Friday night, Nov. 8.
“We are looking forward to opening our 2013-14 basketball season in such a wonderful way, playing a great program like Maryland in a beautiful facility like Barclays Center," coach Kevin Ollie said in a statement. "I know all our student-athletes, but especially the ones from the New York City area, are very excited about the opportunity.”
And Terps coach Mark Turgeon also broke out the boilerplate optimism.
“We’re looking forward to returning to Barclays Center to play a quality opponent in Connecticut," he said. "This will be a great experience for our players and fans.”
It will officially kick off Year 2 of the Ollie era, and it will be tough to top his inaugural season in UConn as the coach. Despite academic sanctions, four players leaving the program, and the retirement of hall-of-famer and coaching legend Jim Calhoun, Ollie still led the Huskies to 20 wins. The good news: he'll return all his starters and will lose just one player to graduation (R.J. Evans). The bad news (if you can call it that): expectations can do funny things to coaches and players.
For now, we're just happy to be talking basketball, even if it includes mostly PR talk about a game that won't be played for seven months.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to open our basketball season at Barclays Center against Maryland," athletic director Warde Manuel said, echoing Ollie's sentiments. "We have a large and passionate fan base in and around New York City that has demonstrated a consistently high level of support to our men’s basketball team. We look forward to this opportunity to play against one of the top programs in the nation at a world-class facility, while showcasing our team and the passion of Husky Nation.”
According to the Hartford Courant, the Huskies and Terps last met on March 24, 2002 in the NCAA East Regionals. Maryland won, 90-82 on their way to the national title. UConn, meanwhile, leads the series, 3-2.