The Huskies face Army this week in Yankee Stadium. Both teams are 2-6 but UConn is coming off a huge win against UCF and first-year coach Bob Diaco tries to keep the momentum going against a tough Army squad.
"It's ... great to get started again after a victory, the energy is high and the relationships are growing and the receptors are even more wide open, so that's very very positive," Diaco said Tuesday. "The incredible challenge with the Academy, any time you play the service academies you're in for a contest and to be able to have that game in arguably one of the most prestigious venues in sports and the world, that's exciting for everyone too."
Diaco was asked what it means to face a service academy in New York.
"It's great," he said. "There's a whole bunch of people that see the national appeal of the service academies and identify with them. (With) all three you know you're in a heavyweight fight. Even as of last weekend, they were incredible battles with those academies. Particularly in this area, there's a great affinity for Army and Navy and in this case we're talking about Army. They are heavily followed by this whole region and for that there's great exposure.
"People in Connecticut already have a template for going to New York and watching the Huskies. So I know the basketball teams go down there, have great relationships with New York and have a great following and a lot of success in the city. So we're looking forward to continuing that."
The coach even has his own memories of Yankee Stadium, which was a decidedly different place when he was growing up.
"I spent some time there and growing up, there's so many names that you love," Diaco said. "It's hard not to get excited about Derek Jeter and follow his career. So if you're talking about a favorite Yankee it's hard not just identify with him and all he stood for and everything he did for so long. But one of my favorite memories was going there and playing a football game.
"That's what is so cool about this organization and I'm not sure how many are doing it or who was first, maybe Wrigley Field or Soldier Field holding some hockey, but the Yankees have always tapped into college football, they had New York high school playoffs there. So it's really cool what they do and kind of a service to those boroughs there. It's really neat what they're doing with the community outreach there to open the venue to all kinds of sporting events."
Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday.