Eagles, 49ers set up series

The Charlotte 49ers and Winthrop Eagles will meet for the first time on the hardwood.

But, fans will have to wait one more season for the matchups to begin.

Charlotte officials confirmed Monday the schools have entered into a three-year deal, which will begin in the 2008-09 season with a game at the 49ers' Halton Arena. The next season the game will be played at Winthrop, with the final game back at Halton in the 2010-11 season.

"We tried to schedule them my first year and at least one other time and maybe twice and they weren't interested in playing. It just didn't work out," said Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz, who enters his 10th season.

"Later, when they contacted us one time about a game, we were already booked. Thankfully now, it's worked out well. Their program, with what they've done, is impressive. We're anxious to start the series."

Although the schools are located only about 30 miles apart and both have had their share of success in the NCAA tournament, the two schools have never met.

It's still possible that could change this season.

Both are part of the eight-team Paradise Jam basketball tournament in November in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They are not scheduled to meet in the first round, but could meet in either of the next two.

Lutz said it was possible the schools would continue the series after the original three-year deal expires.

"It has to be something both schools feel is beneficial. Three years is a good start," he said.