Head men's basketball coach Howie Dickenman released the 2011-12 schedule on Tuesday. The Blue Devils will open for the third straight season at the Connecticut 6 Classic, being played at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Central Connecticut and Yale will match-up to open their respective seasons. Dickenman is beginning his 16th season at his alma mater.
COMPLETE 2011-12 SCHEDULE
"We are pleased with our schedule for the upcoming season," Dickenman said on Tuesday. "We have a four very good programs coming to New Britain in non-conference action. We will also travel to play a pair of teams from the Big 10, as well as a trip to Amherst for another game against UMass. As always, we're excited to get started."
The Blue Devils will play home non-conference games against Army, UMBC, LaSalle and Hartford. They will take to the road to face Niagara, Michigan State, Brown, Northwestern and UMass.
"It's great to get Hartford back on our schedule for the next few seasons," Dickenman said. "Our programs are so close geographically that it just makes sense. We both have great fans, and getting together every season will be a plus to each of our schedules."
The Blue Devils and Hartford will play at least for the next four seasons. The first game in the series will be played on Saturday, November 26 in Detrick Gym. Next season the teams will play in West Hartford.
Following the season-opening game against Yale, CCSU will then travel to Niagara on November 14, before returning home on November 19 for the first of three straight home non-conference games. The Blue Devils will play Army on the 19th, UMBC on November 22 and then Hartford on the 26th.
"We will play four of our first five, and five of our first seven games in the state of Connecticut, including four home games and one game at Mohegan Sun," Dickenman said. "We will challenge ourselves from the beginning with a strong non-conference schedule, and will be prepared for the always-tough NEC schedule."
That NEC slate begins with a pair of games in December. Central will play at Bryant on December 1, and then at home vs. Sacred Heart on December 3.
Four of the next five games will be away from home, and they will complete the non-conference schedule. Central will play at Michigan State (Dec. 7), at Brown (Dec. 10), at Northwestern (Dec. 17), at home vs. LaSalle (Dec. 22) and then at UMass (Dec. 28).
NEC play continues on January 5 when the Blue Devils host St. Francis (PA) and then on January 7 when Robert Morris comes to New Britain.
The Blue Devils will play 18 conference games in 2011-12. They will play every team twice, except for Long Island, St. Francis (NY), Monmouth and Fairleigh Dickinson. Central will host Monmouth and FDU at the end of January and will play on the road at LIU and St. Francis (NY) at the beginning of February.
NEC Rivalry week has been altered this season, and the Blue Devils will play Quinnipiac twice in a four-day span in the middle of February. Central had previously played Bryant during Rivalry Week. The Blue Devils and Bobcats will play in Hamden on February 8, and then in New Britain on February 11.
The NEC Tournament will once again be played at the home court of the higher seeds. The quarterfinals will be March 1, the semifinals on March 4 and the championship game on March 7.
With a young talent base, outstanding coaches and an aggressive non-conference scheduling philosophy, the NEC jumped 11 spots in the NCAA Conference RPI rankings a year ago, the biggest jump in the nation. This season has the potential to be one of the finest in league history, with a host of strong contenders who can compete with the best in the mid-major ranks, along with a number of up-and-coming programs.