Aug. 28, 2012
Related Link: 2012-13 Western Carolina Men's Basketball Schedule
Cullowhee, N.C. - Road trips to the likes of Tennessee, Georgetown and Illinois, combined with a 13-game home schedule including hosting an ESPN BracketBuster contest in the Ramsey Center headline the 2012-13 Western Carolina men's basketball schedule released today by head coach Larry Hunter. The Catamounts will also compete in the Cancun Challenge, presented by Triple Crown Sports with a pair of road games before two played at the all-inclusive Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico.
Western Carolina's 31-game 2012-13 men's basketball schedule again culminates with the annual Southern Conference Men's Basketball Championship to be held in the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville.
"We have assembled another top-notch and challenging schedule for our players and fans," said Hunter who is entering his eighth season in Cullowhee. "The start of the year should be as exciting as any we have had in recent years. We need our students, faculty, season ticket holders, alumni and supporters to quickly get fired up about basketball because our rivalry game with UNC Asheville (Nov. 9) and home-opener two days later tip-off our season."
He added, "This is a schedule that will afford our team room for growth and development as we prepare for the rigors of the Southern Conference season."
2012-13 Catamount Men's Basketball Schedule
Combined, seven of WCU's 2012-13 opponents saw action in post-season play a season ago including five in the NCAA tournament, one in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and one in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
Western Carolina's non-conference schedule features four games against teams local to the mountains of Western North Carolina. Having posted winning seasons in three of the past four years, WCU's 2012-13 season opens on Friday, Nov. 9 as the Catamounts visit mountain-rival, UNC Asheville, at the on-campus Kimmel Arena.
Two days later, the Catamounts open their home slate inside the Ramsey Center by hosting mountain neighbor, Mars Hill, on Sunday, Nov. 11. It is the first meeting on the men's basketball hardwood between the two since 1993.
Following the home-opener against the Lions, WCU embarks on a seven-game road trip marking the third-straight season the team has played seven-or-more consecutive games outside of Jackson County. All told, WCU will endure 27-straight days between home dates.
Playing in the "Mayan Division," the Catamounts open the long road stretch with first and second round play in the 2012 Cancun Challenge by visiting Wichita State (Nov. 15) and Western Kentucky (Nov. 17) on the road before flying to Mexico for two additional games of the four-game guarantee tournament. Once in the Caribbean coastal city, WCU matches-up with Austin Peay State on Nov. 20, and will face either Howard or Gardner-Webb the following day.
Back stateside, the Catamounts close the month of November by opening their 18-game SoCon slate, on the road at Furman (Nov. 28).
Western Carolina plays four of its six games in the month of December on the road beginning with road trips to Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 1) and Illinois (Dec. 4) before hosting arch-rival Appalachian State in the Ramsey Center on Saturday, Dec. 8. It is the earliest meeting between the two long-standing rivals since a Dec. 1 contest back in the 1984-85 season.
WCU visits perennial basketball power, Georgetown - a No. 3 seed in last year's NCAA tournament - on Dec. 15 before traveling over the mountain to Knoxville to face the Tennessee Volunteers on Dec. 21, rekindling a match-up that has lain dormant since 2002. Wrapping up the month, the Catamounts welcome Big South foe, Liberty, to Cullowhee on New Year's Eve.
In the first game following the holiday season, WCU travels to The Citadel (Jan. 5) in league play before opening three-straight home dates inside the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center with non-conference foe, Warren Wilson, on Jan. 7. WCU then plays four-straight overall in SoCon North Division play, hosting UNCG (Jan. 12) and Elon (Jan. 14) before visiting both Samford (Jan. 17) and Chattanooga (Jan. 19).
In the first of two meetings within a two-week period, WCU hosts the Davidson Wildcats on Thursday, Jan. 24, in a rematch of last year's epic double-overtime SoCon Championship game with the return date in the Belk Arena slated for Feb. 6. January concludes with the Catamounts entertaining the Georgia Southern Eagles on Jan. 26.
Looking at the final 10 games of the 2012-13 regular season, Western Carolina plays five on the road with five at home including four-straight in Cullowhee leading into the conference tournament. WCU plays five of its first six games in the month on the road including visits to arch-rival Appalachian State (Feb. 2), Davidson (Feb. 6), Georgia Southern (Feb. 9), UNCG (Feb. 14) and Elon (Feb. 16). The lone home game during that stretch is Wofford on Feb. 11.
WCU then closes the season with home games against league foes College of Charleston (Feb. 20), Chattanooga (Feb. 28) and Samford on March 2. On Saturday, Feb. 23, the Catamounts will take part in the 2013 ESPN BracketBuster, hosting an opponent to be announced in early February.
Closing out the 2011-12 season, Western Carolina won seven-straight games and made a run at the SoCon Championship title before falling in a thrilling double-overtime game in a purple-clad U.S. Celluar Center in Asheville in early March. Hunter and the Catamounts return seven players from that squad including All-tournament team selections in guard Trey Sumler and post Tawaski King.
Four of the top six leading scorers from a season ago are back led by Sumler who averaged 13.5 points per game to rank second on the squad in 2011-12. Junior Brandon Boggs also averaged double-digit scoring at 10.0 ppg, while King averaged 7.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest last season.
Void of a senior on the roster, the Catamounts boast six juniors, two sophomores and a group of five talented freshmen.
"Even though we are not exceptionally big, we have a lot of talent, experience and character on our team. It will be fun to see how it all comes together during the season," added Hunter.
Season tickets for the 2012-13 home schedule will be available for purchase in September. Official tip-off times will be released at a later date.