Schroyer’s first schedule mapped out
After a long wait, the much anticipated McNeese State men’s basketball schedule for head coach Heath Schroyer’s first year and the Cowboys’ inaugural season in the brand new 4,200-seat Health and Human Performance Complex was announced.
Schroyer said a number of factors made scheduling a challenge, including the lack of a definitive opening date for the new arena, a new expanded conference schedule in 2019-20 that prevented scheduling home-and-homes and a Rating Percentage Index ranking that prevented teams from traveling to Lake Charles, although beginning this season the NCAA has ditched the RPI in selecting tournament teams.
“Despite all those challenges, I think we did a really good job,” he said. “We’re going to have 15 home games, and I don’t know the last time we had that many.”
The Cowboys played 16 home games and were 11-5 in the 2014-15 season. They played 55 home games in the last four seasons (13.75 per season).
The Cowboys will tip off their season with two road games, one against St. Mary’s on Nov. 7 and the other at Arizona State on Nov. 9 before returning home to open the new arena, which was scheduled for completion in June, against Loyola-New Orleans on Nov. 16.
The game will be the first of a three-game homestand against non-Division I teams for the Cowgirls, as they follow it up with games against the NAIA’s Mobile (Nov. 20) and Division II’s Mississippi College (Nov. 23).
From there the Cowboys will get back on the road for three consecutive road games against Southern Methodist, North Carolina Central and Mississippi State before returning home for a Dec. 13 rematch against North Carolina Central University, which will be the first Division I team to play in the new arena.
After a trip to Missouri-Kansas City on Dec. 15, the Cowboys will host Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 18.
McNeese will hit the road one last time to take on Texas-Rio Grande Valley before hosting one last NAIA opponent in Campbellsville before starting Southland Conference play.
“Any time you put a basketball schedule together, you obviously want to have a balance,” Schroyer said. “You want to challenge your kids and give them obstacles to let them grow and prepare ourselves to win a conference championship.”
The Cowboys received a fairly favorable conference schedule as they don’t have to play more than two consecutive road games. They also got a nice four-game homestand in the middle of the SLC schedule, when they will host Nicholls State, Southeastern Louisiana, Houston Baptist and Lamar.
“I think (the league schedule) is fair,” Schroyer said. “The fact we’re not playing more than two road games in a row, especially this year with the new arena. And not to look ahead, but those four games at home happen during an important couple of weeks. But if you want to win a conference championship you have to learn how to take care of games at home and on the road.”
Nov. 7 — at St. Mary’s
Nov. 9 — at Arizona State
Nov. 16 — vs. Loyola-New Orleans
Nov. 20 — vs. Mobile
Nov. 23 — vs. Mississippi College
Nov. 29 — at Southern Methodist
Dec. 1 — at North Carolina Central
Dec. 4 — at Mississippi State
Dec. 13 — vs. North Carolina Central
Dec. 15 — at Missouri-Kansas City
Dec. 18 — vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Dec. 22 — at Texas-Rio Grande Valley
Dec. 30 — vs. Campbellsville
Jan. 2 — at Incarnate Word
Jan. 5 — at Northwestern State
Jan. 9 — vs. Abilene Christian
Jan. 12 — at New Orleans
Jan. 16 — vs. Nicholls State
Jan. 19 — vs. Southeastern Louisiana
Jan. 26 — vs. Houston Baptist
Feb. 2 — vs. Lamar
Feb. 6 — at Sam Houston State
Feb. 9 — vs. Northwestern State
Feb. 13 — at Stephen F. Austin
Feb. 16 — at Southeastern Louisiana
Feb. 20 — vs. Central Arkansas
Feb. 23 — vs. New Orleans
March 2 — at Houston Baptist
March 6 — vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
March 9 — at Lamar