A Sunrise Special for Men's Basketball
For the first time in program history, the University of Hartford men's basketball team will be playing inESPN's Tip-Off Marathon onTuesday, Nov. 12. The network announced that the Hawks will be flying south to Fort Myers, Fla., where they will battle the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at 7 a.m. onESPN2.
"First and foremost, it's exciting for the program to have a game on national television," said Hartford Head Coach John Gallagher. "Second, we are playing a great opponent in Florida Gulf Coast, a team that made a spectacular run through the NCAA Tournament last season. It's going to be a hostile environment and should be a real fun experience for our team."
See reaction to the announcement from Coach Gallagher and some of his players.
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) shocked all of college basketball last season when it became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA history to advance to the Sweet 16. Knocking off No. 2 Georgetown in the second round, the Eagles followed suit by downing No. 7 San Diego State to earn a bid to Dallas Cowboys Stadium for the regional semifinals.
The Nov. 12 non-conference game between Hartford and FGCU will be the Hawks' first true road test of the season and will come three days after the conclusion of the Connecticut 6 Classic. This year's date on ESPN will mark the first time Hartford has appeared on the network since Dec. 29, 2009, when it played Kentucky in the Bluegrass State on ESPN2.
In addition, the first-ever meeting between Hartford and FGCU also marks the first of three dates with NCAA Sweet 16 teams on the Hawks' 2013-14 non-conference slate.
On Nov. 19, Hartford will take on defending national champion Louisville in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. This is the first time that the Hawks have been selected to participate in the tournament.
Entering his fourth season at Hartford, Coach Gallagher and his Hawks are coming off one of the most successful years in program history. Carrying the program into its first postseason tournament by earning a bid to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, Hartford matched the program record for regular season victories (17) and posted the most non-conference wins since 2007-08 (10) with the 11th-youngest roster in the nation.
From that team, Hartford brings back 10 players including starters Mark Nwakamma, Nate Sikma, Yolonzo Moore II andCorban Wroe, who each return for their junior campaigns.