Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
During the early rounds of last year’s NCAA Tournament, Dan Hurley booked a game for his Wagner Seahawks to play UConn during the 2011-12 season.
At that time, Kemba Walker and the Huskies had come off winning five Big East Tournament games in five days to capture the crown, but they were not yet the NCAA champions.
“We didn’t know they were going to win it, but we were looking for an exciting out-of-conference opponent that would provide a really good barometer for where we’re at,” Hurley told SNY.tv by phone Tuesday. “And it also gives the chance to show recruits that we’re trying to play exciting games, games in venues that they’ll remember for the rest of their career.”
When UConn released its non-conference schedule Monday, it showed that the Huskies will host Wagner Nov. 14.
The Seahawks will also face Pitt, the reigning Big East regular season champ, on Dec. 22.
A guaranteed game with a school like Wagner can pay between the high five and the low six figures, not an insignificant amount for a school in the Northeast Conference.
In Hurley’s first season at Wagner, the Seahawks finished 13-17 and with an RPI of 171, which also helps their cause in negotiating guaranteed games.
This won’t be Hurley’s first experience playing the defending champs, either.
As a freshman at Seton Hall in the 1991-92 season, Hurley and the Pirates lost to Bobby Hurley and Duke in the West Regional semifinal. Duke was coming off a victory over UNLV in the 1991 NCAA title game and would go on to beat Michigan’s Fab Five in the ’92 title game. Now Bobby is an assistant to Danny at Wagner.
“You go in and you compete as hard as you can and you enjoy the experience of playing a team and a program of that caliber,” Hurley said. “And it’s an opportunity to recruit kids. When they think that they’re high-level kids and they don’t get recruited at that level, it’s an opportunity for them to show that they’re a good player and that we’re a good team.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.