SoCon goes with early hoops start

Southern Conference_171836

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Southern Conference announced its 2019-20 men’s basketball league schedule Thursday. The SoCon’s 10 men’s basketball teams will all play double-round-robin, 18-game intraleague schedules, totaling 90 league contests. Conference play opens Sunday, Nov. 24, and features three more games in December before ramping up for good in January.

UNC Greensboro hosts VMI on Nov. 24 to get the SoCon slate under way, marking the earliest start to league play since Georgia Southern visited Furman on Nov. 23, 2007.

Chattanooga visits Western Carolina on Dec. 3, with The Citadel hosting ETSU the following day. Mercer welcomes Furman on Dec. 20 in first-year Bear coach Greg Gary’s league debut.

Eight league teams are in action on New Year’s Day, including Wofford at ETSU in new Terrier coach Jay McAuley’s SoCon debut. Those four contests get the league schedule under way in earnest, with teams playing a Wednesday-Saturday conference slate for the duration of the season with the exception of a lone Sunday contest, when UNCG hosts Samford on Feb. 9.

The Wednesday-Saturday construct is new this season and will eliminate the need for travel partners as well as provide additional rest between league contests.

The Ingles Southern Conference Basketball Championship presented by General Shale will be held March 6-9 at Harrah’s Cherokee Center Asheville (the moniker the U.S. Cellular Center will assume Jan. 1) in Asheville, North Carolina, with Monday’s championship game airing on ESPN at 7 p.m. Tickets will go on sale Friday, Nov. 1.

Wofford, which finished last season ranked 19th nationally by the Associated Press and No. 18 in the coaches’ poll, is the defending SoCon regular-season and tournament champion.

Full broadcast schedules will be announced later, but all 10 schools’ home games will air on either ESPN3 or ESPN+ if not selected for national or regional broadcast.

The 99th season of Southern Conference basketball opens Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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