Winthrop released its men’s basketball schedule Thursday morning, with 15 of the 30 games scheduled at Winthrop Coliseum.
The Eagles’ Big South slate includes 16 games, beginning on Dec. 29 at Charleston Southern, and 10 games against teams that had winning records last season.
“This is an exciting and challenging schedule,” Winthrop coach Pat Kelsey said in a press release from the school. “The early portion especially, with 3-of-4 games on the road against high level competition in the Preseason NIT including a nationally televised game at Manhattan.”
That stretch also includes road games at Florida State and Illinois.
3 number of 2016 NCAA tournament team teams Winthrop faces this season - Dayton, Hampton and UNC Asheville
After Thanksgiving, Winthrop plays four of its next six non-conference matchups at home beginning with New Hampshire on Nov. 27. December includes three tough non-conference matchups on the road, at Dayton (Dec. 3), Hampton (Dec. 17 and Saint Louis (Dec. 22).
From the Eagles 2016-17 schedule, only Florida State (75) and Dayton (25) finished higher than Winthrop (131) in last season’s final RPI ranking. Asheville slotted in right behind Winthrop at No. 132, despite beating the Eagles in the Big South tournament final.
Kelsey returns double-digit players from last season’s 23-9 team and Winthrop will likely start the year as a preseason favorite to win the league after Asheville was hit hard by transfers. The Eagles’ Big South home opener is on New Year’s Eve against Radford. Winthrop will host Longwood, Presbyterian College, UNC Asheville, and High Point in January, before welcoming Campbell, Gardner-Webb, Liberty and Charleston Southern to the Coliseum in February.
4 out of Pat Kelsey’s 5 years in charge of Eagles’ basketball, Winthrop has played a team from Ohio. Kelsey, a Cincinnati native, has led his team against Ohio, Ohio State, Dayton and NAIA school Rio Grande
The 2017 Big South Men’s Basketball Championship returns to a home-site/earned seed format last used in 2012. The four lowest seeds will compete in the first round on Tuesday, Feb. 28; the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds will host those games.
The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played at the No. 1 seed on Thursday and Friday, March 2-3, on ESPN3, while the highest remaining seed will host the championship game on Sunday, March 5 at 1 p.m. on ESPN – the first Big South title game appearance on ESPN since 2007.
“Our team will be up for the challenge,” said Kelsey, whose teams has won an average of nearly 21 games per season the last three years. “The three Division I non-conference games at home before the Christmas (New Hampshire, Furman and Georgia Southern) will be against teams picked near the top of their respective leagues. Florida State and Dayton are picked by many to be preseason Top 25.”
2016-17 Winthrop men’s basketball schedule
All times still to be determined; opponent’s 2015-16 record in parentheses
12 Ferrum (13-13)
15 at Manhattan (13-18)
18 at Florida State (20-14)
21 at Illinois (15-19)
27 New Hampshire (20-13)
30 Furman (19-16)
3 at Dayton (25-8)
6 Greensboro College (16-11)
17 at Hampton (21-11)
20 Georgia Southern (14-17)
22 at Saint Louis (11-21)
29 at Charleston Southern (9-21)
31 Radford (16-15)
4 at High Point (21-11)
7 Longwood (10-23)
11 Presbyterian (11-20)
14 at Campbell (12-18)
19 UNC Asheville (22-12)
21 at Liberty (13-19)
23 Pfeiffer (14-15)
26 at Gardner-Webb (17-16)
28 High Point
1 at Radford
9 at UNC Asheville
15 at Longwood
23 Charleston Southern
25 at Presbyterian
Feb. 28 to March 5 Big South Tournament (Location TBD)