JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 1, 2019) – East Tennessee State University men’s basketball head coach Steve Forbes and his staff announced the Buccaneers’ 2019-2020 schedule on Tuesday.
Eighteen home games, including non-conference visits from Sun Belt foe Appalachian State, Big South contender Winthrop and Horizon League member Cleveland State, along with road trips to Kansas and LSU highlight the slate of games for the Blue and Gold. Overall, six teams on the schedule made postseason play a year ago, including four appearing in the NCAA Tournament.
“I’m excited that our fans will get to watch 18 home games inside Freedom Hall this year,” said Coach Forbes, who has led the Bucs to 100 wins during his first four years at the helm. “Our administration, led by Dr. Noland and Scott Carter, have made a commitment to helping our program put together a competitive schedule – home and away.
“We’ve needed only one more home game to finish our schedule since the first of June. We worked daily to get a D-I opponent but ultimately had to finish our schedule with another non-D-I to give our fans 18 home games.”
BUCS TO OPEN SEASON AT FREEDOM HALL
ETSU, who has won 51 home games in the Forbes era, will open the season inside Freedom Hall beginning with an exhibition game against Limestone on Nov. 1. The Bucs will then begin regular season play at home five days later when the Blue and Gold host Newberry on Nov. 6.
TRIPS TO LAWRENCE AND BATON ROUGE IN STORE FOR ETSU
For the first time since 1996 and the fourth-time in program history, ETSU will travel to Lawrence and take on Kansas inside Allen Fieldhouse. The game, which is a part of the Maui Invitational, is scheduled for Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. ET. Over the last 12 years, the Jayhawks have won 201 of their 211 home games.
A month later, the Blue and Gold head to Baton Rouge for their first-ever meeting with LSU on Dec. 18 inside the Maravich Center. The Tigers won 28 games a year ago, while winning the Southeastern Conference Championship and advancing to the Sweet 16.
“Kansas is one of the premier programs in the history of college basketball and will be ranked amongst the top-five in the country going into the season,” said Forbes. “LSU won the SEC Championship a year ago and will be ranked in the Top 25 as well.”
RIVALRY RENEWED WITH APPALACHIAN STATE
ETSU and Appalachian State will renew its rivalry when the Mountaineers visit Freedom Hall on Nov. 26. The two schools, who are only separated by 55 miles, will play in Johnson City for the first time since the Bucs’ 81-68 victory back on Nov. 15, 2011. Overall, the teams have played 125 times with ETSU leading the all-time series, 79-46.
Prior to the Mountaineers coming to town, ETSU will cap off a home-and-home series with Winthrop on Nov. 14. The Bucs defeated the Eagles last November 76-74 in Rock Hill, S.C.
“Appalachian State and Winthrop are two very good regional home games,” said Forbes. “It will be the first time Appalachian State has been to Johnson City since 2011. I appreciate head coach Dustin Kerns for renewing this series.”
BUCS TO HOST MAUI MAINLAND GAMES
Following their game at Kansas, the Bucs will open a three-game homestand by hosting the Maui Mainland games on Nov. 23-24. ETSU takes on Delaware State on Nov. 23, while the other game features Southern Utah and Charleston Southern. The championship and consolation games will then be played on Nov. 24.
SOCON PLAY BEGINS IN DECEMBER
For the third straight year ETSU will begin Southern Conference play on the road as the Bucs make the trip to Charleston, S.C. to face The Citadel on Dec. 4. The Bucs, who began conference play at Wofford last year and at Mercer in 2017-18, swept the Bulldogs a year ago and lead the all-time series, 43-17.
ROUNDING OUT NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
ETSU hits the road for the first time on Nov. 9 at UT-Martin, while other non-conference road games send the Blue and Gold to University of Arkansas at Little Rock (Nov. 30) and North Dakota State (Dec. 7). The Bucs defeated both North Dakota State and UT-Martin last season, while this will mark ETSU’s first trip to all three sites.
ETSU’s remaining non-conference home games feature Milligan (Dec. 15), Horizon League foe Cleveland State (Dec. 21) and Mars Hill (Dec. 29).
“North Dakota State is coming off NCAA Tournament appearance and will be picked to win their respective league again this year,” said Forbes. “We start a home-and-home series with UALR and finish our home-and-home series with UT-Martin on the road. Cleveland State comes to Freedom Hall for a single home game led by first-year head coach Dennis Gates, who was a long-time Assistant Coach at Florida State.”
RINGING IN THE NEW YEAR WITH WOFFORD AT HOME
The Bucs focus the remaining portion of their schedule with conference play beginning on New Year’s Day when reigning SoCon regular season and tournament champion Wofford come to Freedom Hall. The Terriers went 18-0 in conference play last season and defeated No. 10 seed Seton Hall in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
CHATTANOOGA SERIES BEGINS IN JOHNSON CITY
The in-state rivalry with Chattanooga will begin in Johnson City when the Mocs visit Freedom Hall on Saturday, Jan. 25. The Bucs make the return trip a week and a half later when the two teams clash inside McKenzie Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 5. ETSU has ended the Mocs’ season each of the last two years and the Bucs have won the last eight meetings in the series.
MORE SOCON HOME GAMES
Coming off road games at Furman (Jan. 4) and UNCG (Jan. 8), the Blue and Gold return home for a pair of games versus VMI (Jan. 11) and Samford (Jan. 15). The rest of the home SoCon slate of games consists of Mercer (Jan. 29), UNCG (Feb. 1), The Citadel (Feb. 12), Furman (Feb. 19) and Western Carolina (Feb. 29).
SOCON ON THE ROAD
After playing six of its first nine SoCon games at home following the New Year, ETSU will end the season with five of its final eight games on the road starting with Chattanooga. From there, ETSU heads to Mercer (Feb. 8), VMI (Feb. 15), Samford (Feb. 22) and Wofford (Feb. 26).
MARCH MADNESS BEGINS IN ASHEVILLE MARCH 6-9
The SoCon Championship presented by General Shale returns to Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, N.C. from March 6-9. The conference champion will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The championship game will be played on Monday, March 9 at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Season tickets for the upcoming 2019-2020 season are currently available starting at $125. To purchase tickets, please call the ETSU Ticket Office at 423-439-3878 or purchase them online at ETSUBucs.com.
For more information on Buccaneer men’s basketball, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the men’s basketball tab.