There will be a couple exhibition games in front of the hometown faithful but the Kevin Ollie era officially starts November 9 in Germany when the Huskies square off against Michigan State at Ramstein Air Force Base. Seven weeks ahead of the get-together, the university and ESPN (which will air the came) released some details about the game.
The teams will play in a hangar used to house C-5 Galaxy transport planes. It will seat 3,500 people. The game will also air at 5:30 p.m. ET as part of ESPN's “Veterans Week” package. UConn has three players making a homecoming of sorts -- freshman Leon Tolksdorf (Berlin), junior Niels Giffey (Berlin) and senior Enosch Wolf (Goettingen). And transfer R.J. Evans has relatives living in Germany.
The Huskies are excited to be a part of the first college basketball game to be played overseas.
“We at the University of Connecticut are honored and humbled to be asked to participate in such a terrific event as the first Armed Forces Classic,” Ollie said in a statement released by the school.
“Being able to travel overseas and play for the brave men and women in our military to whom we owe so much is an unbelievable opportunity for our basketball program and we are extremely thankful to ESPN for including us. The fact that the game will be played at Ramstein Air Base in Germany makes it more exciting for our team, since our roster includes three young men who are German citizens, but all our student-athletes are looking forward to this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“On a personal note, I couldn’t be more proud and honored that my first game as UConn’s head coach will be in the Armed Forces Classic against an outstanding program like Michigan State. I know that Coach Calhoun had a great relationship with Coach Izzo, which I hope to continue in the future. I am grateful to have such an inspiring way to begin my career.”
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo sounded equally as honored.
“This is another amazing opportunity for Spartan basketball and Michigan State University,” he said. “I’m thankful that ESPN reached out to us to be a part of this great event. Being a part in the first college basketball game to be played on a military base overseas is truly an honor.
"Playing in the Carrier Classic on the USS Carl Vinson last season provided memories that will last a lifetime, as the historic event was so much more than just a basketball game. The opportunity to honor the great men and women of the US Armed Forces was a humbling experience, as we felt that we got so much more in return than we gave.
"To now have the opportunity to take our game overseas to servicemen and women serving to protect us is an awesome experience. I’m reminded of my trips to the U.S. bases in Kuwait, and what a life-changing experience that was for me. Everyone associated with the Michigan State basketball program is excited for this unique opportunity.”