DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team will play a trio of programs from the Big Ten and Atlantic 10 – both top-10 conferences last year – as part of its 2008-09 schedule head coach Bill Herrion announced Tuesday.

“We are looking forward to our non-conference schedule,” Herrion said. “It is obviously very competitive and will help prepare us for conference play. We have some quality home games and we will be really challenged by playing a team from the Big Ten and two teams out of the A-10. It is a non-conference schedule that our kids will be really excited about playing.”

After an exhibition tuneup at home with Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Nov. 8, the Wildcats open the season at home by playing host to Division III-foe Suffolk at Lundholm Gymnasium on Nov. 16. UNH hosts Harvard on Nov. 19 before hitting the road to battle Big Ten-school Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center on Nov. 23. The Big Ten was rated the sixth-best conference last season.

A Nov. 29 matchup at Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference-member Marist College begins a string of six straight opponents who were .500 or better last season. The Wildcats open December with a trip to Patriot League-opponent Colgate University on Dec. 3. UNH plays host to Brown University on Dec. 6 before a three-game road swing that takes it to a pair of schools from the Atlantic 10 – the seventh-best conference last season. The Wildcats make a return trip to the University of Rhode Island on Dec. 9, visit Northeast Conference-member Long Island University on Dec. 13 and meet up with Fordham University for the first time ever Dec. 23. The Wildcats then get back to work after a short Christmas break when they host former America East-rival and current Colonial Athletic Associate-foe Hofstra University on Dec. 27.

The Wildcats ring in the new year with another first-ever meeting, this one coming against West Coast Conference-school Santa Clara University on Jan. 4. The ‘Cats then kick off their conference schedule by playing host to the University of Hartford, which lost in last season’s America East championship game, at Lundholm on Jan. 7. The Wildcats make a Jan. 11 trip to Boston University before playing host to the defending America East champions, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County on Jan. 14. UNH closes out its non-conference slate with a Jan. 17 tilt against intrastate-rival Dartmouth College – the third Ivy League school on the schedule. The Wildcats head further north Jan. 19 to take on the University of Maine and come back home Jan. 22 to host Binghamton University. The team plays back-to-back road games at the University of Vermont on Jan. 25 and at Stony Brook University on Jan. 28 before battling Vermont again on Jan. 31 at Lundholm.

UNH opens February with a contest at Hartford on Feb. 4 and returns to Lundholm on Feb. 7 to hook up with Boston University. The Wildcats travel to Maryland on Feb. 10 to take on UMBC, a game they nearly stole in overtime last season. UNH then has a matchup Feb. 15 at the University at Albany, site of the 2009 America East tournament. The Wildcats play host to Maine on Feb. 19 before heading to Binghamton on Feb. 22. The ‘Cats close out their regular season with a pair of home games Feb. 26 versus Albany and March 1 against Stony Brook.

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