The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team finally has a finished schedule for its first season in The HTC Center.
The Chanticleers released their 2012-13 slate Friday and will open the season -- and debut in their new arena -- Nov. 9 against Akron, as was previously announced.
Coastal will then travel to Ole Miss and Tennessee Tech for its next two games to set up a challenging opening stretch.
“It may be difficult, [but] I think we can get better from it,” head coach Cliff Ellis said. “It will be a difficult challenge to start with six freshmen, but we’ll play it out and we’ll see what we need to do. We’re not easing into it. We’re diving into it.”
Other notable non-conference matchups include home games with Florida International (Nov. 24) and Clemson (Dec. 19), a road tilt at instate rival College of Charleston (Dec. 22), a rare home-and-home back-to-back with Boston (away Nov. 28 and home Dec. 6) and an ESPN BracketBusters game to be announced (Feb. 23).
The Ole Miss game is the start of a three-year agreement, Tennessee Tech is a return game after the Golden Eagles visited Conway as part of the BracketBusters lineup last year and Florida International, Clemson and College of Charleston are all rematches from last year. The Chants memorably upset Clemson on the road 60-59 last Nov. 22.
“I think it’s naturally the highlight game,” Ellis said of the rematch with the Tigers.
Coastal, which finished 19-12 overall and 12-6 in the Big South Conference last season, opens conference play Jan. 5 on the road against new league member Longwood and will host the conference tournament March 5-10.
Part of the struggle in finalizing the schedule, Ellis said, is that the program initially thought there would be 20 conference games with the expansion to 12 Big South teams. Instead, after playing 18 league games last year, there will be only 16 this season so Coastal had to find some late additions to its slate.
Also, The Citadel was supposed to play in Conway this season but asked to have the game delayed due to their own scheduling conflicts.
“You start looking around in April and May for four games, it’s tough,” Ellis said. “... We won 75 games over the last three years. Everybody’s not jumping up and down to play us.”
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.