FGCU Men's Basketball Team Announces 2005-06 Schedule
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Five games against teams which appeared in the 2005 NCAA Division II tournament highlight the 2005-06 Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball schedule.
Following an exhibition game at Division I Bethune-Cookman on November 11, the Eagles open their fourth season of intercollegiate basketball on November 16 at regional foe Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Ala., a team that won nine of its final 12 games last year and returns its top five scorers. Stillman, which is a new addition to the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, beat SIAC regular season champion Albany State and SIAC Conference Tournament winner Lane in the final two weeks of last season.
In all, FGCU will play 27 regular-season games plus three games in the 2006 National Independent Tournament. The Eagles will host 19 games in Alico Arena, where FGCU has posted a 45-2 record during the past three years, but must play nine of its first 10 regular season games against south region competition. FGCU will play 13 teams that posted winning records a year ago, including five teams that won at least 23 games. They are coming off a 24-7 season and an NCAA tournament berth in their first year of post-season eligibility.
“This was not only the most challenging schedule to put together, but it is the most challenging we have played”, said Eagles fourth-year head coach Dave Balza. “Our out-of-region competition is very strong and I think the South Region, in terms of depth of teams at the top of the region, might be the best region in the country.”
The home opener is part of the 4th Annual Hillmyer-Tremont Tip-Off Classic on November 22-23. The Eagles will face the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey at 7:30 on November 22, following an opening round game between Ashland and Florida Memorial. The winners will meet November 23 at 3:00 p.m.
FGCU hosts the 4th Annual Holiday Classic with NCAA sweet-16 participants Montevallo and Ferris State, as well as a strong Minnesota-Duluth squad on December 29-30. The Eagles will also host the National Independent Tournament, featuring Division II teams playing without a conference affiliation, from February 16-18. Other key home games include visits from tournament qualifiers Ferris State, Barry and national semifinalist Lynn and a visit from Sunshine State Conference power Florida Southern, and Gulf South contender Arkansas-Monticello.
The Eagles face tough road tests at regional foes Barry, Lynn, West Georgia and Florida Southern. The road schedule is highlighted by a two-game trip to Hawaii, featuring a game against NCAA participant BYU-Hawaii and Hawaii-Pacific.
“Living in southwest Florida, there aren’t many places you get excited to visit in January”, said Balza. “But the teams out in Hawaii are Division II independents, like us, and it’s tough to find games during that part of the year. We thought it would be a great trip for our players.”
The regular season concludes with a pair of home games against SIAC top contenders Morehouse College on February 24 at 7:30 p.m. and against Albany State on February 25 at 3:00 p.m. The top eight teams in the south region will be selected for the NCAA Division II tournament, scheduled for March 10-13. -
The team has planned two opportunities to meet the team prior to the season opener. The Shoot an Eagle 3 Golf Outing is scheduled for September 24 and a Midnight Madness Celebration to begin the season is set for October 14. Season ticket packages begin at $110 can be purchased at the Alico Arena box office or by calling (239) 590-7146.
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