Huskies beef up nonconference basketball schedule
Washington will play Indiana, Connecticut and San Diego State among others.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Lorenzo Romar knows he can’t please every Washington men’s basketball fan who has complained about the nonconference schedule in recent years.
But this time, the Husky coach believes UW has met just about every criteria needed to prepare the team for the upcoming Pac-12 season and position it for a postseason berth.
Play in a prestigious tournament against ranked opponents? Check.
Washington will participate in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project at Madison Square Garden. The Huskies face Indiana on Nov. 21 and could meet either Connecticut or Boston College on Nov. 22.
Reward UW fans with a nonconference home game against a reputable foe? Check.
Washington hosts UConn at Alaska Airlines Arena on Dec. 22.
Play a “true” road game in the home gym of a tough opponent? Check.
The Huskies play at San Diego State, which has advanced to the NCAA tournament the past four years, on Dec. 8.
Play a handful of patsies? Check.
Washington filled out the schedule with very winnable games against UC Irvine (Nov. 14), Mississippi Valley State (Dec. 27) and Hartford (Dec. 29).
Play a relatively unknown team that will likely help your RPI? Check.
Long Beach State, which was a tournament team in 2012, plays at Washington on Nov. 30 and it should be a tougher game than most fans expect.
Maintain a traditional rivalry? Check.
Washington renewed its home-and-home series with Seattle University and will begin the regular season Nov. 10 against the Redhawks. It’ll mark the sixth meeting in as many years since the crosstown rivalry was renewed in 2009.
The Huskies also face regional opponents.
They host Eastern Washington (Nov. 17), Montana (Nov. 26) and Idaho State (Dec. 14). Washington also plays Central Washington at home in a Nov. 6 exhibition.
The only thing missing from the schedule is a game against Gonzaga, but otherwise it’s a docket that has something for everyone.
“I really like our schedule,” Romar said. “There’s enough challenges on there. You talk about going down to San Diego State. That’s a tough ballgame. I think the opponents on our schedule are going to be good for the RPI. It’s going to be good for preparation for our conference.
“And I think it’s going to be good to give our players experience to go out and compete.”
Perhaps the game that excites Romar the most is a Dec. 17 trip to Louisiana to play Tulane at Devlin Fieldhouse.
“That’s Jernard Jarreau,” Romar said of Jarreau, a New Orleans native. “We’re going to New Orleans for Jernard.”
Recently, the Huskies have scheduled road games in cities that allows their out-of-state players to play in or near their hometowns.
“No one has ever come to Washington because we’re going to go and play in their hometown, but I just think it’s something that we let them know we appreciate you,” Romar said. “We appreciate your family and we’re going to give you an opportunity to play in front of your family and friends.”