Men’s basketball began last season at Iowa before playing against Utah, Nebraska and national runner-up Michigan, all before beginning its Mid-American Conference schedule.
Those teams are noticeably absent from the 2013-14 non-conference schedule.
In fact, CMU’s opponents’ combined record is a lowly 121-206, a winning percentage of .370.
CMU will play three teams coming off of winning seasons (Bradley at 18-17, Dayton at 17-14 and a home-and-home with Jacksonville State, 17-11).
“The schedule is something we take seriously and can help improve our program,” head coach Keno Davis said. “Not only for our home games and our fans and students to be able to come to McGuirk (Arena), but with our quality of opponents.”
The Chippewas will host eight home games, including a tournament, in 2013.
CMU’s non-conference schedule begins with the season opener against Manchester of the MIAA on Nov. 8.
Followed by Pepperdine, a team CMU beat on the road 80-77 last season, visits Nov. 16.
Montana State, Austin Peay and Cal State Northridge will all be coming to Mount Pleasant for a tournament that will run from Nov. 21 through Nov. 23.
“We’re looking, in the future, to host a regular format tournament,” Davis said. “Around the same timeframe where it’ll be a true winners versus losers bracket. But this year, to be able to get a higher number of home games, we looked at hosting a tournament. Three games in three days will be unique, but we look at it as a positive to prepare us for the (MAC) tournament.”
Jacksonville State will participate with a home-and-home series, playing at McGuirk Nov. 30 with CMU returning the favor in Florida on Dec. 17.
Marygrove will come to McGuirk Arena on Jan. 3 to finish the non-conference schedule.
“There is a mandate from the (MAC) to get a certain number of home games,” Davis said. “So those opportunities where we played at some great tournaments … There is less opportunity for those neutral-site games. Last year, where we played Michigan and Iowa in the non-conference, those games are replaced by Dayton and Bradley.
“We’re looking to stay as regional as we could for those games. We felt that some distances we traveled last year might have taken a toll on us as we got into conference play. So we’ve taken a lot of thought into our schedule this year and know we’ve taken a step in the right direction.”
CMU will begin a new, 18-game MAC schedule this year, as well.
The MAC added an extra game to its season this year. Davis sees this as a sign the conference is on the way up.
“This year in the MAC, a lot of those bottom teams feel that they are ready to take a step and challenge the rest of the division and the upper division teams are going to be trying to stay there,” Davis said. “There is a lot of interest throughout the league and in the area.”
The MAC schedule starts at home with Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday, Jan. 08 and will end with Western Michigan on either Friday, March 7 or Sunday, March 9.
“I’m enjoying this team and the time that we’ve had to work with them,” Davis said. “I’m enjoying the early school and individual workouts as much as I ever had enjoyed coaching a basketball team.”
Monday, Oct. 8 vs. Lake Superior State (exhibition)
Friday, Nov. 8 vs. Manchester
Saturday, Nov. 16 vs. Pepperdine
Thursday-Sunday Nov. 21-23 Central Michigan Tournament vs. Montana State, Austin Peay, Cal State Northridge
Saturday, Nov. 30 vs. Jacksonville State
Friday, Jan. 3 vs. Marygrove
Wednesday, Jan. 8 vs. Miami (Ohio)
Saturday, Jan. 18 vs. Eastern Michigan
Saturday, Jan. 25 vs. Akron
Wednesday, Feb. 5 vs. Kent State
Saturday, Feb. 8 vs. Buffalo
Wednesday, Feb. 19 vs. Ball State
Sunday, Feb. 23 vs. Northern Illinois
Tuesday, March 4 vs. Toledo
Friday, March 7 or Sunday, March 9 vs. Western Michigan