Oct. 2, 2013
• WCU Season Preview
Cullowhee, N.C. -
Western Carolina's head men's basketball coach Larry Hunter released the 2013-14 Catamount schedule highlighted by road trips to Oregon, Virginia Tech and Georgia and includes four tournament games in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
"Our players have had the best offseason workouts and improved their basketball skills and bodies to a man of any team I have had at Western Carolina. They are an excited and hungry bunch of Catamounts," Hunter said. "We will need to carry this `I will not be denied' attitude throughout the season because we again have a very challenging schedule."
The schedule features seven games against teams that made it to postseason play in the 2012-13 season, including three games against NCAA tournament teams. The Catamounts are slated for two games to be aired on ESPN3 as part of the SoCon broadcast schedule, and two games on TV. WCU will be in the Ramsey Center 13 times during the 2013-14 season.
"We are excited to have the two early home dates against Wittenberg and UNC Asheville to give our fans an early view of our team," added Hunter.
WCU opens play with Wittenberg November 8 in the Ramsey Center. Hunter, who spent three season as an assistant and 13 as the head coach, led Wittenberg to the NCAA Division III National Championship and was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in 1976-77. After playing mountain rival UNC Ashville on Monday, November 11 in Cullowhee, the Catamounts hit the road for six-straight contests. Western Carolina opens the road swing with a cross-country trip to the Pacific Northwest to play Oregon on Wednesday, November 13.
The game against Oregon, the Pac-12 Tournament champion in 2012-13, will be aired on the Pac-12 Networks. The Ducks ended the last season ranked 15th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen before bowing out to eventual champion Louisville.
Western Carolina returns to east coast at Virginia Tech on Friday, November 15 with the first leg of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. A Saturday, November 16 date at Liberty, the 2012-13 Big South Tournament Champion and NCAA Tournament participant, is sandwiched between the final three games of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Kent, Ohio.
The Catamounts open with tournament sub-host Kent State on Thursday, November 21. The Golden Flashes appeared in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament in 2012-13 and won their first round matchup. WCU turns around and plays Niagara on Friday, November 22, another team who made an appearance in post season play a season ago; the Purple Eagles were invited to the NIT. WCU wraps up the three-day round-robin tournament with USC Upstate on Saturday, November 23.
Western Carolina returns to the friendly confines of the Ramsey Center with Limestone on Tuesday, November 26 before hitting the road again, this time for a three-game swing with two games in the state of Ohio.
The Catamounts head to Wright State Saturday, November 30, a team that played in the College Basketball Invitational in 2012-13, before heading to Coastal Carolina on Wednesday, December 4 as one of only five games in December. The three-game swing concludes at Cleveland State on Monday, December 16.
Two of the next three games will be played in Cullowhee against Charleston Southern, a NIT team from 2012-13, on Wednesday, December 18 and Milligan on Monday, December 30 as the final game of the 2013 calendar year. A game at Georgia on Saturday, December 21, which will be aired on CSS, will lead WCU into the Christmas Holidays.
Western Carolina rings in the New Year with back-to-back Southern Conference home games against UNCG on Thursday, January 2 and Elon, another postseason team in 2012-13 - the Phoenix played in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Saturday, January 4.
Highlighting conference play for the Catamounts is a Monday, January 20 game on road at Wofford that will be aired on ESPN3, and a home date against defending Southern Conference champion and NCAA Tournament participant, Davidson, on Thursday January 23.
February opens with a bang as WCU host rival Appalachian State on Saturday, February 8 and Furman on Monday, February 10 in a home ESPN3 contest. WCU's trip to Boone against App State is Thursday, February 20.
The final regular season home contest is Thursday, February 27 against Chattanooga, and the final regular season game is slated for Saturday, March 1 at Samford.
The Southern Conference Tournament returns to Asheville for the third straight season with play beginning on Friday, March 7. ESPN3 will carry early round games with CSS picking up the semifinals and ESPN2 airing the championship game on Monday, March 10.
"We lost a lot of close games a year ago and hopefully with five seniors and most of the team returning this season we will find ways to turn many of those types of games into wins. We should be a very exciting team to watch compete and play," Hunter concluded.
The Catamounts opened the 2013-14 season with the team's first practice on Saturday, September 28. WCU returns 12 players from 2012-13, including all five starters. Headlining the returning Catamounts are seniors Trey Sumler and Tawaski King. Sumler, who was named SoCon Preseason Player of the Year by College Sports Madness, returns as the team's leading scorer, while King returns as the top rebounder. Tom Tankelewicz, who led the SoCon in 3-point field goals made, and Brandon Boggs, who averaged 10.3 points per game, also return in the Catamounts' backcourt.
The All-Hoops season ticket package, which is good for both men and women's basketball games, is $100 for adults and $55 for ages 3-17. Men's or women's season tickets are $75 for adults and $35 for ages 3-17. In honor of celebrating 80 years of the Catamount mascot, WCU is also offering an All-Hoops pass for $80 for first time season ticket holders. For ticketing information call the Catamount Ticket Office at (828) 227-2401. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.CatatmountSports.com.
Fans can keep track of the Catamount Athletics through social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports), Twitter (@catamounts), YouTube (CatamountSports) and Instagram (wcu_catamounts). Additionally, CatamountSports.com will be updated throughout the 2013-14 athletic year.