FORT MYERS, Fla. - Florida Gulf Coast University Men’s Head Basketball Coach Dave Balza has announced the 2009-10 schedule. The schedule features 13 home games, highlighted by contests against Florida International and DePaul.
The Eagles will face 2009 NCAA runner-up Michigan State on Nov. 13 as part of a four game road trip that takes them thru three different states to start the 2009-10 season. The Spartans, the Big Ten champ that lost to North Carolina 89-72 in last season’s NCAA title game, finished 31-7 last season.
“The biggest thing that jumps out, obviously, is that MSU is the highest-ranked program that we’ve ever played,” said Balza. “We try to schedule challenging non-conference games in order to better prepare ourselves for A-Sun conference competition. We think our fans enjoy seeing us face-off against elite programs, and Michigan State definitely fits into that category.”
On Nov. 19, FGCU will travel to the Lone Star State to face Praire View A&M and SMU (Nov. 21) before making their way back to the Sunshine State to face Miami (Nov. 25) in Coral Gables, Fla.
The Eagles non-conference games also include road matchups with Longwood (Dec. 5) and North Carolina Central (Dec. 16) and home games against Bethune Cookman (Dec. 1), Florida International (Dec. 12) and DePaul (Dec. 22).
“Our fans will be very entertained by our excellent non-conference schedule because we feel that it will present our team with a great mix of playing styles and the opportunity to play high level teams,” said Balza.
The Atlantic Sun Conference season opens up in mid December as the Eagles travel to South Carolina to face USC-Upstate (Dec. 14), marking the third straight year that FGCU has began conference play on the road. The Eagles are 1-1 to open conference play dating back to their first Division I season in 2007.
The Blue and Green mix in two more non-conference games before the conference season moves into high gear on Dec. 29 at Stetson. The Eagles will then start the New Year in Nashville to face cross-town rivals Belmont (Jan. 2), and Lipscomb (Jan. 4). The Eagles travel back to the Sunshine State to host North Florida (Jan. 8) and Jacksonville (Jan. 10). FGCU will then hit the road to face Campbell (Jan. 14) and East Tennessee State (Jan. 16) before coming back to Alico Arena for a three-game homestand against Kennesaw State (Jan. 22), Mercer (Jan. 24) and Stetson (Jan. 27).
Three days later, the Eagles will make the Georgia swing to face Kennesaw State (Jan. 22) and Mercer (Jan. 27) before hosting the 2008-09 A-Sun Champions ETSU (Feb. 4) and Campbell (Feb. 6).
The Eagles last road trip lands them in North Florida to face Jacksonville (Feb. 11) and North Florida (Feb. 13). The Eagles come into this season with a 3-1 record against the Ospreys.
The Eagles will play three straight at Alico Arena to conclude the 2009-10 season. The last homestand begins with a meeting with the Bison of Lipscomb University on Feb. 18, and Belmont (Feb. 20). The season concludes with a Senior Day game against USC-Upstate (Feb. 25).
The 2009-10 season marks year three of the four-year transition period. The Eagles will not be eligible for the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament and the NCAA tournament until the 2011-12 season.
For information on purchasing season tickets, contact the Alico Arena Box Office at (239) 590-7145 or visit the official website for FGCU Athletics at www.fgcuathletics.com.