CHARLESTON, S.C. – Road trips to defending NIT champion Baylor and reigning Mountain West winner New Mexico, along with home games against UNC Wilmington and Delaware, highlight the 2013-14 Charleston Southern Men's Basketball schedule. CSU Head Coach Barclay Radebaugh announced the slate on Tuesday.
"We are excited about our 2013-14 schedule," Radebaugh said. "This is without a doubt the most difficult schedule we have undertaken during my time as head coach at Charleston Southern. We purposely challenged our team with our pre-conference schedule. We are thrilled to have two quality Colonial Athletic Association schools on our home schedule in UNC Wilmington and Delaware. Our team will be tested in every way before we enter into conference play on January 8th."
Conference clashes with rivals Coastal Carolina and Gardner-Webb bookend the Big South home schedule, as the Bucs look to repeat as regular season champions.
"We have been thankful for the amazing support we have experienced at the Buc Dome," said Radebaugh of the home floor CSU has posted a 35-7 record on over the last three seasons. "The faithful support and enthusiasm from our students, combined with the rapidly growing support from our fan base, has made the Buc Dome one of the toughest and most unique home courts in college basketball.
"We know how tough the Big South Conference is every year and this year will be no exception," Radebaugh continued. "Every game in the Big South is a battle. We have great respect for the coaches in the Big South. Big South teams are always stocked with great players and are extremely well coached. Our-non-conference schedule will help us prepare as we strive to repeat as regular season champions."
CSU opens the campaign at home on Friday, November 8 as it hosts Johnson University, an NCCAA foe out of Knoxville, Tennessee. The Bucs then hit the road for the first time on November 10, jetting to the University of Delaware for a meeting with a Blue Hens squad which won 19 games a year ago. Another CAA opponent awaits CSU three days later, as UNC Wilmington pays a visit to the Buc Dome with former UNC Asheville Head Coach Eddie Biedenbach on the bench as an assistant.
A grueling road trip will take the Bucs out west on November 17 and 20, as CSU travels to New Mexico and Baylor. New Mexico won 26 games and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season, and always boasts a strong home court advantage at "The Pit" in Albuquerque. Radebaugh and company will then challenge themselves in Waco, Texas against a Baylor team which has established itself as a Big 12 power under head coach Scott Drew. The Bears won 23 games and captured the NIT title in 2013.
The pre-Thanksgiving slate wraps up on November 26, as the Bucs host Trinity (Fla.) before taking a week off from game action. Delaware heads south on December 3, as the Blue Hens finish off the out-of-conference home and home series with CSU.
Following an 11-day break for final exams, CSU travels to Tuscaloosa for the second straight year to take on the University of Alabama. Two more road games take the Bucs into Christmas break, as CSU meets Western Carolina on December 18 before squaring off against Central Arkansas on December 21.
Contests with St. Andrews on December 28 and Columbia International on January 6 wrap up the out-of-conference home docket. In between is another matchup with a power conference foe, as CSU travels to Florida State for the second time in three seasons.
The local fan base figures to be energized by CSU's Big South opener on January 8, as Coastal Carolina makes the short trip south from Conway. CSU snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Chanticleers on Senior Day 2013, clinching the Big South South Division Championship in the process.
Three of CSU's first four Big South games are at home, with Presbyterian and UNC Asheville coming to the Buc Dome on January 15 and 18, respectively. Prior to that homestand, CSU opens the league road slate at Winthrop, who the Bucs defeated in last year's Big South Tournament Quarterfinals.
One of the highlights of the Big South schedule comes on January 22, as the Bucs visit 2012-13 Big South South runner-up Gardner-Webb. The Runnin' Bulldogs swept a pair of overtime thrillers from CSU last season en route to a 21-win campaign.
Three of CSU's next four games are at the Buc Dome. CSU hosts Longwood on January 25, before ending the January schedule at Campbell on January 29.
The Bucs then open the final month of regular season play by hosting Liberty on February 1, as CSU tries to avenge last year's loss in the Big South Tournament Final. Radford then follows Liberty into the Buc Dome on February 5, as third-year head coach Mike Jones looks to get the Highlanders back toward the top of the Big South.
Four of the Bucs' next five games, and five of the final seven overall, are on the road. After a trip to VMI, CSU travels to High Point on February 12 in what could be a meeting of the Big South's divisional favorites.
Winthrop is the opponent at home on February 15, before another two-game road swing takes CSU to UNC Asheville and Presbyterian on February 19 and 22.
Senior Day once again has a chance to be a memorable one, as CSU plays host to Gardner-Webb on February 26 in a matchup that could have late-season implications in the South Division race. The Bucs then wrap up the regular season on March 1 at Coastal Carolina, where the Chanticleers will also host the conference tournament beginning March 5.