Mercer Finalizes Men's Basketball Schedule

5:39 PM, Aug 9, 2013   |    comments
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MACON, Ga. (Mercer Release) - Four 2013 NCAA Tournament qualifiers, four BCS opponents and an 18-game Atlantic Sun conference schedule highlight the 2013-14 Mercer men's basketball schedule as released by head coach Bob Hoffman on Friday.


"It's a huge opportunity for us to have 16 home games and a chance to be in our arena where we've had great crowds," Hoffman said.  "Away from home, we'll be stretched everywhere we go.  There's a very good likelihood that all six non-conference road games will be against top-100 RPI teams."


Thirteen non-conference games spanning the first two months of the year serve as the team's warm-up before A-Sun competition begins on December 30.  The season officially gets underway on November 8, when the Bears travel to Austin to take on Texas - marking the team's first road season opener since defeating No. 18 Southern California in 2007.


After Texas, Mercer returns to Macon for the home opener against Reinhardt on November 13 and then welcomes Seton Hall to town on November 16.  The Bears are back on the road against Evansville on November 18 and then host Johnson and Wales on November 20.  The annual homecoming game features a noon tipoff against Yale on Saturday, November 23.


A three-game road stretch closes November and leads into December as Mercer travels to Ohio (Nov. 26), Valparaiso (Nov. 29) and Oklahoma (Dec. 2).  Denver and Alcorn State come to Macon on December 7 and December 16 before Mercer heads to Mississippi for the final non-conference road game on December 22.


Mercer's A-Sun debut comes on the second to last day of the calendar year, when the Bears challenge Jacksonville in the River City.  The double round-robin format sees Mercer meet each conference opponent at home and on the road.  Notable games include the CSS A-Sun Game of the Week against Kennesaw State on January 10, a home test against 2013 Sweet 16 qualifier Florida Gulf Coast on January 23 and the regular season finale at Hawkins Arena against Jacksonville on March 1.


"If you had your druthers, you'd hope to be in a good position that final week," Hoffman said.  "It seems every year it comes down to those final games, and we'd love to be in the right place at the end.  It won't be easy, because in this league you can win and lose by one possession every day."


Valparaiso, Oklahoma, Mississippi and FGCU all made NCAA Tournament appearances a year ago.  Seven teams (Valparaiso, Oklahoma, Mississippi, FGCU, Ohio, Evansville, Denver) reached to the 20-win plateau in 2012-13.

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