With the exception of final times and date changes due to live television, the 2016-17 men’s basketball schedule for UNCW’s defending Colonial Athletic Association champions came into clearer focus this week.
The Seahawks, who went 14-4 in regular season league play in 2015-16, open a three-game round-robin tournament during the Thanksgiving holiday in musical hotbed Nashville to being the year. A clash with former head coach Brad Brownell’s Clemson club highlights the program’s non-conference schedule.
“We’re very excited about the non-conference schedule and believe it will prepare us well for the tough CAA grind,” said Head Coach Kevin Keatts, two-time CAA Coach of the Year. “We were looking for good schedule balance and competition that would emulate our CAA schedule.
“Scheduling is always a difficult task, but last year’s success made it especially tough this time around. The tournament in Nashville will provide great competition while giving our guys a terrific chance to bond as a team.”
The Seahawks, who captured their first CAA title in 10 seasons with last year’s sterling 25-8 record, return the bulk of their lineup for the new season, including CAA First-Teamer and CAA Tournament MVP Chris Flemmings, along with high-motor guard and Third-Team All-CAA selection Denzel Ingram.
Overall, the 13-game regular season non-conference slate features five home games, five road contests and three neutral site matchups. It has the Seahawks playing teams from 11 different conferences, with four first-time opponents (Claflin, Middle Tennessee State, Evansville and St. Bonaventure).
Following a home exhibition game vs. Mount Olive on Nov. 6, UNCW christens the new season on Friday, Nov. 11, against NCAA Division II opponent Claflin of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Orangeburg, S.C.-based Panthers will make their first appearance at UNCW’s Trask Coliseum.
The Seahawks trek to Nashville in late November for their debut in the “Challenge In Music City,” an exempt tournament being staged at the 8,000-seat Nashville Municipal Auditorium. UNCW is scheduled to play Middle Tennessee State, Evansville and Toledo right after the Thanksgiving holiday.
UNCW concludes its non-conference schedule on Dec. 28 by taking on Brownell and his Tigers at newly-renovated Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C. Brownell coached four seasons at UNCW from 2003-06, compiling an 83-40 record and leading the Seahawks to CAA titles in 2003 and 2006.
In addition to Flemmings and Ingram, the Seahawks return starters C.J. Bryce and Jordan Talley off last year’s team, which reeled off 11 consecutive victories late in the campaign and nearly upset Duke in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
In league play, UNCW opens its CAA slate on New Year’s Eve against Towson. UNCW plays nine conference games in the first month of the year, including four at home and five away from Trask Coliseum. The Seahawks host their first conference home game on Jan. 2, 2017, vs. Elon, before closing out the month with five road dates in an eight-game span.
Season tickets are available for $190 plus sales tax per seat and donations to the Seahawk Club are required in certain sections. An Economy Plan Special is also available that allows fans to purchase season tickets for $99 plus sales tax in the second level corner and end zone sections (Sections 201, 207, 211-215, and 221-228). The deadline for renewing priority season tickets is Sept. 1, 2016.
Click here for UNCW’s complete 2016-17 men’s basketball schedule.