To call it the battle for Nutmeg State bragging rights would surely be to oversate the Stags’ chances of being competitive, let alone actually winning the game.

But call it what you will, the Stags will play UConn for the first time since 2000, when the two teams play in the Hispanic College Fund Classic in Nov. 17-19 at the Hartford Civic Center.

The Stags’ will also play Mississippi, and UConn will play Central Arkansas in the tournament.

It will be the second time in three years that the Stags’ have played a prominent team from Mississippi.

In 2004-05, they opened up the season with a narrow defeat to Mississippi State in the opening round of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

The highlight of the tournament though – at least from a Fairfield point of view – will clearly be the show-down with the Huskies, a team that came within a shocking upset loss of the Final Four a year ago, and boasts what some consider the best recruiting class in the country.

UConn Head Coach Jim Calhoun told the New Haven Register that the teams have not played in the past several years because Fairfield had insisted upon bringing part of the series to the Arena at Harbor Yard.

Calhoun’s point of view: the Huskies can sell out the Civic Center, which holds more than 16,000 people, against any team, so playing at Fairfield and generating far less revenue simply wouldn’t make sense.

For the Stags, though, the game represents change and consistency at the same time.

Playing UConn is something the Stags’ didn’t do during the last six years of former Head Coach Tim O’Toole’s tenure, so the fact that newly appointed Head Coach Ed Cooley is at the helm cerainly could be a factor.

The Stags also will play Boston College this year, a game made possible because Cooley last coached in Boston, where he was an assistant under Head Coach Al Skinner.

But their tough out-of-conference schedule also continues a trend set by O’Toole, in which the Stags’ played at top 20 opponents Iowa and Georgetown last year.

The out-of-conference schedule for the 2006-07 season, which last yet to be released with specific dates and times, also includes a home game against Georgetown and an away game at Providence.

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