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Cowboys get 16 home games

Last Modified: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 12:29 PM

By Alex Hickey / American Press

This season’s McNeese State men’s basketball schedule offers an exciting new feature for Cowboy fans — home games.

The Cowboys released their 2014-15 schedule on Tuesday, and it features 16 games at Burton Coliseum. Seven of those games are against nonconference opponents before New Year’s Day.

That’s a marked improvement over last season’s slate, which saw the Cowboys play one game in front of home fans before starting the conference schedule.

“There’s a lot of things in wins and losses, and scheduling is one of them,” said head coach Dave Simmons. “This schedule fits us better than last year. We still bring in very tough basketball teams, but I like our schedule. It reminds me of when we won a championship (in 2010-11) because it allows the team to start gelling.”

The home slate doesn’t just feature quantity, but quality.

Old rival Louisiana-Lafayette, an NCAA tournament team last season, will visit on Dec. 6. McNeese will also face Toledo (27-7, NIT in 2014) and Central Michigan (10-21) out of the Mid-American Conference the week before Christmas.

“This gives fans a chance to support us and get to know the team,” Simmons said. “Home-court advantage, when you get your own crowd, is worth 10 extra points to you as a team.”

There will also be compelling draws on the Southland Conference portion of the schedule.

Defending champion Stephen F. Austin, which last year became the first SLC team to advance to the Round of 32 since 2005, opens league play at McNeese on Jan. 3.

The Cowboys also get home games against their two biggest conference rivals, Lamar and Northwestern State. McNeese faced both teams once last year, and both games were on the road. There will be a traditional home-and-home with both foes this season.

McNeese has four guarantee games against big-conference opponents, though none will quite be the caliber of giant the Cowboys had to face last season with the likes of Michigan State and San Diego State.

McNeese’s toughest opponent may come first with a Nov. 14 season opener at Baylor. The Cowboys also have “money games” at LSU (Nov. 29), Texas Christian (Dec. 13) and Mississippi State (Dec. 30).

“When you play those kind of top-15 caliber teams like Michigan State and San Diego State — we want to always have a tough schedule, but last year we took on a monster schedule,” Simmons said.

Posted By: Steve On: 8/13/2014

Title: Civic Center

Hope some are at the Civic Center those are fun and you don't have to drive forever out of town.

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