One of the best ways for UConn to combat that major blemish next season is through a strong non-conference schedule with significant television exposure. The Huskies appear headed in that direction. UConn and ESPN announced Wednesday morning that the Huskies will make their first appearance in the Jimmy V Basketball Classic on Dec. 4, taking on North Carolina State at Madison Square Garden.
The game is scheduled for 9 p.m. as the second half of the Jimmy V doubleheader that will include Georgetown against Texas at 7 p.m. Both games will be televised by ESPN, which sponsors the event for the V Foundation for Cancer Research that honors the late coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993.
Last month it was announced that UConn and Washington had completed plans for an intersectional home-and-home series to begin in 2012-13. Washington will play at either Gampel Pavilion or the XL Center on Dec. 29, 2012.
In addition, UConn is scheduled to play in the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands from Nov. 16-19. Other teams in that tournament are George Mason, Iona, Mercer, New Mexico, Illinois-Chicago and Wake Forest. And UConn has a memorandum of understanding to play in the second annual Carrier Classic but that event is in a state of flux and may not even carry the same name. North Carolina and Michigan State were the inaugural participants last year on the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. But there will not be an active carrier off San Diego available for the game this November.
Arizona had been mentioned as a possible opponent but that was never firmed up. UConn is awaiting word from the organizing group, Morale Entertainment, on a site. Charleston has been mentioned as a possibility.
The Jimmy V Basketball Classic started in 1995 and has raised more than $120 million to fund cancer research grants. This is the 10th consecutive season that the Classic has been played at Madison Square Garden.
UConn and North Carolina State both appeared in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Huskies (20-14 last season) bowed out with a loss to Iowa State in the tourney's second round and the Wolfpack (24-13) lost to Kansas in the Sweet 16.
UConn and North Carolina State have split four previous meetings.. The Wolfpack won a 60-59 decision at Gampel Pavilion during the 1990-91 season, while UConn evened the score with an 81-74 victory in Raleigh in 1992-93. The next two meetings between the teams came in NCAA Tournament play with the Huskies chalking up a 77-74 win in the second round of the 2002 East Regional in Washington, D.C. and the Wolfpack notching a 65-62 victory in the second round of the 2005 Syracuse Regional in Worcester, Mass.
While it is UConn's first appearance in the Jimmy V Classic, North Carolina State lost to Gonzaga 69-60 in the 2002 event. Texas has appeared twice, topping Villanova, 67-58, in 2008, and losing to Arizona, 91-83, in 2003. Georgetown has played in the event once, beating Butler, 72-65, in 2009.
The UConn women's basketball team will also be appearing in the 2012 Jimmy V Women's Classic, taking on Maryland on Dec. 3 at either Gampel Pavilion or the XL Center at 7 p.m. It will be the fifth time in the Jimmy V Classic for the Huskies, who have split their first four appearances.
Tickets for the Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic will go on sale in the fall via Ticketmaster and at the Madison Square Garden box office.