The 2019-20 Radford University men’s basketball non-conference schedules features four regular season home games and a tough road slate including three 2019 NCAA Tournament teams, head coach Mike Jones announced Wednesday afternoon. Game times will be finalized and announced at a later date.
“We wanted to really challenge our team to step up this year and prepare for the league in a way that we hope will build character, chemistry and toughness to compete for a Big South championship,” Jones said. “In order to achieve such a feat, we felt like we had to up the ante in our non-conference schedule. Our players will be tested night in and night out and be forced to raise their level from a year ago. The league is all that really matters, and this non-conference schedule, we believe, will prepare them for them for that.”
Fans will get their first look at the new squad on Saturday, Nov. 2 when Randolph College makes its way to the Dedmon Center for a preseason exhibition. The regular season begins with a rematch against Liberty at the Vines Center in Lynchburg on Friday, Nov. 8. It’s the first meeting between the two schools since the legendary 2018 Big South Championship Final. The Flames made it to the Second Round of the Big Dance last season before falling to Virginia Tech.
Following the Battle of the Blue Ridge the Highlanders return to the Dedmon Center for their home opener against Bridgewater College on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Radford will close out the month of November with four consecutive road games. The first is a return trip to Georgia Southern on Friday, Nov. 15 in Statesboro, Ga. Then Radford will head to Evanston, Ill., to square off against Northwestern on Tuesday, Nov. 19. The Wildcats went 13-19 last season but had 10 of its wins at home inside Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Radford will stay in the Prairie State and head to Peoria, Ill., on Friday, Nov. 22 to take on its second 2019 NCAA Tournament team in Bradley. The Braves went 20-15 last season but won the Missouri Valley Tournament to earn the NCAA berth. November ends with a Tuesday matchup at Monmouth on Nov. 26. The Hawks are an associate member of the Big South – football only – but play their basketball in the MAAC. Monmouth made an appearance in the MAAC Tournament Final but fell to top-seeded Iona, ending its season.
The month of December begins with a pair of huge home contests. The first will feature James Madison on Wednesday, Dec. 4, and the second welcomes UNCG on Saturday, Dec. 7. Radford will look for revenge against both teams as each defended its home court with wins against the Highlanders in 2018-19. UNCG was one win away from a 30-win season and a berth to the NCAA Tournament last season. However, the Spartans made it to the Second Round of the NIT before falling to Lipscomb in Greensboro.
With four games remaining in December, the Highlanders will once again play Duquesne on at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio on Saturday, Dec. 14 for the first of two neutral site games. The two teams played at LeBron James Arena on Nov. 17, 2018 and the Dukes handed Radford its first loss of the season, 69-65. Just four days following the Duquesne game the Highlanders will travel to Starkville, Miss., on Wednesday, Dec. 18 to take on its final non-conference team that made the NCAA Tournament a season ago. Mississippi State went 23-11 last year but fell victim to the dreaded 12th-seed over 5th-seed upset, falling to No. 12 Liberty in the first round.
After the Highlanders leave Humphrey Coliseum, they’ll head to the nation’s capital to take on Richmond at the Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Dec. 22. The Entertainment & Sports Arena is home to the WNBA’s Washington Mystics and the G-League’s Capital City Go-Go. It will be the 20th all-time meeting between the Spiders and Highlanders.
Radford will return to the New River Valley and wrap up non-conference play against Central Penn on Sunday, Dec. 29 before beginning conference play six days later at home against High Point.