Appalachian State University men’s basketball has finalized its 2015-16 non-conference schedule, head coach Jim Fox announced on Wednesday.
The 11-game non-conference slate includes home games against Charlotte, Furman and Jacksonville, road contests at North Carolina, Texas, Tulane and Hampton, an appearance at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” New York City’s Madison Square Garden versus Hofstra and a three-game tournament in Nashville.
“Our players have expressed their desire to be challenged by the schedule that we put together,” said Fox. “We have that this year. We will put our program on a national stage playing against some of the country’s best programs in Chapel Hill, Austin, Nashville and, of course, at Madison Square Garden.”
App State opens its 2015-16 schedule in the High Country with back-to-back home games against Jacksonville on Saturday, Nov. 14 and former Southern Conference foe Furman on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
The Mountaineers will then hit the road from Nov. 20 through Dec. 15. The road swing begins Friday, Nov. 20 at Hampton followed by a Sunday afternoon tip-off on Nov. 22 down on the Bayou against Tulane.
Over Thanksgiving Break, the Apps will participate at a tournament in Nashville, Tenn. with games on Thursday, Nov. 26, Friday, Nov. 27 and Sunday, Nov. 29. The opponents have yet to be determined.
App State will then travel to the Big Apple on Sunday, Dec. 6 for a showdown with Hofstra at Madison Square Garden, marking the first-ever appearance for the Black and Gold at MSG.
“Playing at Madison Square Garden will be an incredible experience,” Fox, a Levittown, N.Y. native, said.
Former Appalachian State coach and fellow New Yorker Bobby Cremins added: “I think it’s great that App State is playing at Madison Square Garden. It’s the Mecca of college basketball. The players should have a great New York experience and it will be a great homecoming for Coach Fox. I will always remember the first time that I coached there and it is truly a special feeling for somebody from New York.”
Following their game at The Garden, the Mountaineers will head southwest to Austin, Texas on Sunday, Dec. 15 to take on new head coach Shaka Smart’s Longhorns.The only prior meeting between the programs took place during the 2008-09 season.
In what proves to be the biggest home draw of the non-conference schedule, Appalachian will welcome in new head coach Mark Price and the Charlotte 49ers on Saturday, Dec. 19 to renew the in-state rivalry. App State will be playing the 49ers for the 35th time and for the third consecutive season when the Niners make their way up the mountain.
To close out the non-conference schedule, the Mountaineers will travel to Chapel Hill to face-off against the Tar Heels at the “Dean Dome” on Monday, Dec. 21. App State is 0-5 all-time against the Tar Heels with the last meeting coming in the 2011-12 season in Chapel Hill. UNC came away victorious, 97-82.
The schedule features four teams that played to postseason tournaments last season, including three that earned NCAA Tournament berths – North Carolina, Texas and Hampton. The trio combined to win four NCAA Tournament games, highlighted by UNC advancing to the Elite Eight before falling to eventual national runner-up Wisconsin.
Hofstra earned a berth in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and fell to Vermont in the first round.
“As always, our goal is to use our non-conference schedule to prepare us for our Sun Belt season,” Fox said. “This schedule will certainly do that. We will be challenged to constantly improve and hopefully be playing our best basketball come March down in New Orleans.”
The announcement of the 11-game non-conference schedule, combined with the previously announced 20-game Sun Belt Conference slate, rounds out Appalachian State’s 2015-16 schedule. To view the 2015-16 men’s basketball schedule in its entirety, visit appstatesports.com.
Ticket information will be forthcoming. Ticket info will be available at appstatesports.com/tickets when finalized.
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