The sports calendar still has a World Series, NBA tip-off, and a good slice of the NFL season to go through first, but college basketball is getting closer. Just recently, UNCG’s full schedules were released online.
The women’s team will start out the year hosting Brevard, a Division III school of just 718 students. However, immediately after that they will play a much stronger team from the mountains, the UNC Asheville Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are one of the toughest teams that the Big South has to offer, and it will be the first real test for our Spartans. When the two teams faced last year, UNC Asheville won 95-52. The Spartans will try for revenge in Greensboro at 6:00 p.m. on November 14.
Conference play doesn’t begin until January 5—plenty of time for the team to get their feet wet. The Spartans will be traveling Greenville, South Carolina to play Furman. Furman finished in the middle of the Big South with a 7-7 record last year.
The first home game against a conference team, though, is on January 12 against Mercer. Last year, Mercer beat the Spartans in overtime. It could very well be another close matchup to start off the conference home schedule—worth checking out.
Another interesting game will be the February 16 matchup versus Chattanooga, who finished at the top of the conference last year with a record of 12-2. For a Spartans team looking to rebound from a last place finish, that game is a chance for a really satisfying win.
The regular season ends at the turn of March, when the Spartans will make their annual trip to Asheville for the Southern Conference tournament.
Being a Division I school means that every game will be demanding, and UNCG’s schedule is packed full with plenty of talent. Still, they’ll be looking to surprise some people this year and get a better seed for the tournament.
The men’s basketball team starts out on a much more challenging note—they’ll be playing the University of Virginia, one of the ACC’s powerhouse programs over the past few years. It would have to be one of the all-time1 great upsets of college basketball to get a win, but it will still be fun to see our Spartans going up against one of the best teams out there.
That isn’t their only ACC challenge, either. UNCG will also play Wake Forest, which is a game they could be more realistically competitive in. It would be fantastic to see an exciting game against an ACC school.
Conference play opens up on the road against The Citadel, who won just three games in the Southern Conference last year. This will be a good chance for UNCG to get some confidence with the long road ahead of them.
Samford will be the first conference team the Spartans play at home. Last year they were 4-14, so they’ll be looking to improve from the start. Both teams are hoping to improve on the last season and it could be a pivotal game.
Another key home game to watch will be the February 15 bout against Wofford. In recent years, Wofford has been the basketball powerhouse of the Southern Conference, often playing competitive games in the NCAA tournament and dominating the regular season. It’s always interesting to see what the Spartans can do against them.
UNCG plays East Tennessee State in Greensboro to end the season. This could be a huge matchup because given how well the Spartans played towards the latter half of last year, they could be competing for one of the top spots. If that’s the case, this is a must-see.
The men’s tournament will also be held in Asheville, starting on March 3. If this team continues to build on what they had going last year, they could be right in the mix with the contenders.
While any UNCG basketball game is worth seeing, these are just some of the highlights of the schedule. For many of us who have been here for years without seeing a truly great team, it’s exciting to realize that this could be a year to remember.