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 for the upcoming season Thursday, and the team will have a game with a perennial national powerhouse, a December tournament, as well as an ESPN BracketBuster tilt in late February.
"We're happy with our non-conference schedule," Herrion said. "We've tried to include more of the New England rivalries with Holy Cross, Brown, etc. Obviously we're going to have a big challenge playing at UConn and URI – two upper level teams. It will be very important for us to get off to a good start this year in our non-conference schedule."
For the first time in three years, the Wildcats will have a new season-opening opponent as they take a break from their series with Suffolk to welcome in Division III Lesley University to Lundholm Gymnasium on Nov. 13. The 'Cats travel north to take on intrastate rival Dartmouth on Nov. 16 before playing host to Holy Cross for the first time in 10 years Nov. 20.
UNH visits Sacred Heart on Nov. 23, then plays host to Brown on Nov. 27 before closing out the first month of the season with a trip south to two-time National Champion (1999, 2004) Connecticut on Nov. 30. It will be the first time the Wildcats have met the Big East power in five years.
The Wildcats head to Colgate on Dec. 4 before wrapping up the home portion of their non-conference schedule with a Dec. 9 tilt against Army. The 'Cats then travel to A-10 foe Rhode Island, which went 26-10 last season and made it to the semifinals of the NIT, on Dec. 18 and Central Connecticut State on Dec. 22 before breaking for the Christmas holiday.
The team comes back together and heads to Richmond, Va., to play in the Virginia Commonwealth Tournament. The squad opens against Cornell, which went 29-5 last season and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, on Dec. 29 and then takes on either Wofford, which went 26-9 last season en route to the Southern Conference title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament, or VCU, which went 27-9 and ended the season being crowned CBI champs, on Dec. 30.
After kicking off conference play later that week, the Wildcats will take a break from the America East schedule Feb. 19 when they take part in the eighth annual ESPN BracketBusters event for the second consecutive year. Matchups for the BracketBuster will be set at the beginning of February. Last season UNH traveled to Loyola (Md.) and pulled out a 61-60 win at the buzzer. The Wildcats will receive a return home game from both Loyola (Md.) and whomever they end up playing in this year's game during the 2011-12 season.
"We're excited to be part of the BracketBuster again. Last year we had a great win at Loyola," Herrion said. "The positive thing with the BracketBuster is in 2011-12 we'll have two home games from the BracketBuster that year."