Seahawks get nationally televised game, open CAA hoops slate at Trask Coliseum is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

The UNCW men’s basketball team will play its first two Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) games at home for the first time in 14 seasons and battle James Madison in a nationally televised game on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) in mid-February.

The CAA office released the 2015-16 slate early Monday and the 18-game league schedule will have all 10 CAA teams facing each other at home and on the road. This year’s docket has the men playing on Thursday and Saturday.

Kevin Keatts is gearing up for his second season as head coach. Photo courtesy- UNCW Sports
Kevin Keatts is gearing up for his second season as head coach. Photo courtesy- UNCW Sports

The Seahawks, 18-14 overall and 12-6 in the CAA last season, are coming off one of the top turnaround seasons in the NCAA Division I ranks. Second-year Head Coach Kevin Keatts and his staff steered the team to a four-way share of first place in league play and advanced to the postseason for the first time since 2006.

“I’m excited about the conference schedule being released,” said Keatts, the 2015 CAA Coach of the Year. “There are no advantages and no disadvantages to it. We just know that we’ll be going up against some very good CAA competition and we’re excited about showing everybody what we can do.”

The CAA schedule opens for the Seahawks on New Year’s Eve when the Seahawks ring in 2016 with a matchup against Drexel. UNCW then takes on Northeastern on Saturday, Jan. 2, in the second of two straight home games to christen the new season. The last time UNCW played two home games to kick off the CAA schedule came during the program’s third championship season in 2002-03.

“I like the fact that we’ll be playing our first two games at home,” Keatts added. “Our students may not be here, but I know the community will be behind us. Anytime you play home games, and especially in this conference, it’s important. We have a very challenging schedule with so many new faces.”

Following the tip-off with the Huskies, the Seahawks hit the road for three straight road dates at Towson, Delaware and Elon. UNCW then returns home to entertain William & Mary and Delaware before leaving again for Drexel and James Madison.

UNCW and regional rival College of Charleston play the first of two games on Saturday, Jan. 30, before the Seahawks travel to Hofstra and Northeastern.

UNCW has a favorable home schedule down the stretch, playing four of their final six conference games at Trask Coliseum. The Seahawks entertains Elon (Feb. 11) and James Madison (Feb. 13) and wraps up the regular season with home games against Hofstra (Feb. 25) and Towson (Feb. 25). Sandwiched in between is a pair of away trips to William & Mary and Charleston.

The NBCSN matchup with JMU on Saturday, Feb. 13, represents UNCW’s regular season debut on the network. NBCSN will provide national television coverage of CAA basketball for the fourth consecutive year. The network, which is available in nearly 85 million homes, will air six regular-season contests along with the semifinals and finals of the CAA Men’s Basketball Championship. All NBCSN games are also available online through NBC Sports Live Extra.

The non-conference schedule for the Seahawks, along with game times for all of the games, will be released in the coming weeks.