Seventeen home games, eight first-time opponents and nine games against schools that played in the postseason last year highlight the 2015-16 USC Upstate men’s basketball schedule, it was announced on Wednesday by head coach Eddie Payne.
Upstate opens the season in search of its third consecutive win against the Southeastern Conference when the Spartans take to the road to battle 2015 NIT participant Texas A&M from Reed Arena (Nov. 13). Upstate defeated South Carolina in 2013 and Mississippi State in 2014 for the program’s first-ever wins over the league.
Following a road game against in-state rival Presbyterian (Nov. 16), Upstate makes its Hodge Center debut against Navy (Nov. 19) to begin a six-game homestand. The Spartans also host Bob Jones (Nov. 21) and Winthrop (Nov. 24) before welcoming Georgia Southern (Nov. 27) and The Citadel (Nov. 28) for the A-Sun Upstate Classic.
The Spartans close their homestand and the month of November with a matchup against Toccoa Falls (Nov. 30).
Upstate will play five of its next six games away from home, beginning with a short trip to Greenville, S.C., to battle in-state rival Clemson at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The Spartans will be bidding for their third straight win over the ACC following victories at Virginia Tech in 2013 and Georgia Tech in 2014.
The Spartans also face East Carolina (Dec. 4), Navy (Dec. 14), UAB (Dec. 15) and Colorado State (Dec. 21) in road games in December. UAB reached the third round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament and Colorado State was a No. 1 seed in the NIT.
Upstate closes the non-conference schedule with consecutive home games against Lees-McRae (Dec. 30), UMKC (Jan. 2) and North Carolina A&T (Jan. 5).
“We have our normal assortment of games against high-major competition, and we’ve had a good amount of success in those games in past seasons,” Payne said. “It looks to be a very exciting year against very good competition.”
Conference play kicks off with Upstate visiting Atlantic Sun newcomer NJIT (Jan. 9) to begin a three-game road trip. The Spartans also tangle with Stetson (Jan. 14) and Florida Gulf Coast (Jan. 16) before making their way home for three straight from the Hodge Center.
Upstate hosts reigning league champion North Florida (Jan. 21) in the A-Sun home opener before battling Jacksonville (Jan. 23) and Kennesaw State (Jan. 27) to cap the homestand. The Spartans also play home games against Lipscomb (Feb. 6), Florida Gulf Coast (Feb. 11), Stetson (Feb. 13) and NJIT (Feb. 25) on Senior Night.
“We’re really excited about the fact that we have 17 home games for the second year in a row,” Payne said. “I think that is a good thing for a young team that lost four starters from a team that played for the A-Sun Championship to play at home as much as possible.”
Other A-Sun road games include Lipscomb (Jan. 30), Kennesaw State (Feb. 1), Jacksonville (Feb. 18) and North Florida (Feb. 20).
The A-Sun Conference Tournament is scheduled for March 1-6 and will be played on the home court of the higher seed.
Season tickets are now on sale and can be purchased through the USC Upstate Athletic Department. Upstate is offering three exclusive ticket packages, beginning with the faculty/staff package that is available for $100. Fans will have the opportunity to choose between the Full Season Package ($170) and the VIP Sideline Package ($220). The Full Season Package includes an exclusive parking pass and a complimentary game program, while the VIP Sideline Package includes the parking pass, game program and prime first row/court-side seats.
For more information on how to purchase season tickets, please contact the USC Upstate Athletic Department at 864-503-5141 or click here for a printable order form. All season ticket packages allow admission to all men’s and women’s home games.