DURHAM, N.H. - Head coach Bill Herrion and the University of New Hampshire men's basketball program announced the non-conference portion of its schedule Tuesday, and the team will have a pair of games with perennial national powerhouses, as well as a an ESPN BracketBuster game in late February.
"We think we have a really competitive non-conference schedule," Herrion said. "We always try to put a schedule together that will toughen us and help prepare us for conference play in the America East."
For the third straight year, the Wildcats will open up at home against Suffolk on Nov. 14. The ‘Cats then hit the road for a pair of games, first Nov. 20 at storied Maryland, who is annually in the NCAA tournament mix, followed by a tilt with Harvard on Nov. 25. After a short break for Thanksgiving, UNH hits the hardwood again Nov. 28 when it plays host to Marist before gearing up for what will no doubt be its toughest non-conference matchup.
On Dec. 4, the Wildcats will head to Pitt, who ended the season ranked No. 6 in the nation after a 31-5 campaign that saw it finish second in the Big East, grab its first ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and make it to the Elite Eight. The ‘Cats then return home Dec. 9 to host Central Connecticut State before traveling to Hofstra on Dec. 12.
UNH then gets to rest up for a week before hosting intrastate rival Dartmouth on Dec. 20 and then immediately hitting the road to play Army Dec. 22. The Wildcats again have a week off around the Christmas holiday before hosting Colgate on Dec. 30. The ‘Cats then ring in the new year with a first ever trip to Santa Clara on Jan. 2. UNH, which beat Santa Clara, 58-54, in Durham on Jan. 4 last season in what was its biggest non-conference win in 15 years, has not traveled to California since the 1999-00 season.
After kicking off conference play later that week, the Wildcats will take a break from the America East schedule Feb. 20 when they play in one of 51 ESPN BracketBuster games. The seventh annual ESPNU BracketBusters event, a two-day men's college basketball extravaganza pitting potential NCAA Tournament hopefuls against each other on Feb. 20-21, will feature 13 nationally televised games - on either ESPN2, ESPNU, or ESPN360.com - selected from a pool of 102 teams. Matchups for the BracketBuster, which will be UNH's first ever, will be set Feb. 2.
"We are excited and feel privileged to be chosen to take part in the BracketBuster," Herrion added.