We've known the schedule for awhile now. It was officially announced more recently. Well let's take a closer look at the early season schedule and how this shakes out for the most anticipated Mount season in recent memory.
One quick synopsis before I get to the detail. I think this is a good schedule, a little light on home games, but as a small mid-major you'll have that, and I'd have loved to see participation in one of the exempt tourneys. How bout the Legends Classic (that the NEC sponsors) or the CBE Classic to celebrate Phelan's induction, or maybe even the Philly Hoops Classic over the Thanksgiving Holiday? Things for the future, I suspect.
But truly this schedule doesn't send the Mount too far from home, it gives plenty of travelable road games, and I think it gives the team an opportunity to do what I think should be their number one goal this season. Avoid the #16 seed in the NCAA tournament. And let's avoid that 16 seed by being a 13-15 and not by playing in the NIT or CBI.
Ok, here we go....no predictions, but a good look nonetheless...
NOV 14th @ Loyola - Season Opener for both squads on a Friday night in Baltimore. Count me in. Those who can't make the trip, I'm told it was moved from Saturday to Friday in order to accomodate MASN.
NOV 17th @ Virginia Tech - Another TV game, as Comcast has picked this one up. This is the type of the game that this Mount team can win. Not saying they will, but it's the type of game, that that could happen. Tech was an NIT team last year, and thought they should have been in the Big Dance.
NOV 25th @ George Mason - I think it's important for the Mount to continue to play teams from the Colonial. Mason is a natural fit. The unfortunate thing here is I don't think this is a home-and-home series, as the games with Madison and Delaware in recent years have been. That means the Mount is probably getting paid handsomely for the trip. Hope that means I get good seats, although I wouldn't be shocked to see this appear on MASN's schedule when it's finalized. Another game that if the Mount takes its A game on the road, it could win.
NOV 29th vs Boston University - The Terriers really should be the class of the America East (another conference I like having a game against). But they haven't been of late, and have been more in mid-pack range of that conference. I'm hearing that might change this year. Anyhow, the banner goes up this night, and the rumblings are that there might be some throwback unis to celebrate the '62 national championship team. Do we really want to see some of these guys in short shorts?
DEC 1st at American University - Glad that this game stayed on the schedule. Unlike many deals, it seems that this isn't a two-year contract, and hopefully it sticks around for awhile longer. The Mount hasn't had the kind of success against American that they should, and last year's game was a major disappointment. Hopefully, they are more prepared this season.
Dec 4th at Sacred Heart - Not sure if the NEC does this every year. But I sort of like the idea of the championship game from last year being the opener in the conference this year. I also think early in the year, might not be a bad time to have to face the Pioneers, who lost a lot from last year's squad.
Dec 6th at Central Connecticut - On the road early in the season, I think this will be a fairly tough game. CCSU was getting better as last year wore on, and I think they'll continue to improve this season.
Dec 9th vs Navy - This is a game that makes sense for both schools to play and for it to be another annual game. Teams played a gritty gutty game in Annapolis last year. I would think if the Mount uses its athleticism it wouldn't have to be as exciting this year.
Dec 13th at Penn State - Late Saturday afternoon game at the Bryce Jordan Center, 4pm, is calling out my name. Trust me I was counting on one of my teams to beat the Nits this year. I would expect that the Mounties can at least stay within 42. Mark that one down, and consider this another game that could be a big win if the chips fall right.
Dec 20th at Georgetown - This one is probably one of those where you just take the check, play the game, and get ready for Conference play. But it's a great experience to play in the Verizon Center. I just hope I have better seats then I did for the Hannah Montana concert.
Dec 23rd at Lasalle - Speaking of winnable non-conference road games....this one certainly fits the bill. In reality, I'd probably be satisfied with anything more than 5 wins at this point. But wouldn't it be something if this team was 7-4 or 8-3 at this point. If all goes right, it could happen.
Dec 29th vs. Bryant - I'm thinking about introducing a new Mount fan to the ARCC ont this night. I think that would be the best game for it. Bryant is the NEC newcomer, and this is a non-conference game, you go figure it out.
Jan 2nd at Lafayette - What is a Friday afternoon game doing in January? Do people not work on this day? Or is this on ESPNU or something worthwhile? Seriously, all the Mount needs to do is start from where they left off against the Leopards last year, and they should be fine here.
So that would complete the non-conference portion of the schedule. By this time, I expect at least 8 wins. 8-5 would really be grand headed into the bulk of the conference schedule. I'd settle for 9-4, but I'm pushing for 8 wins.