Eagles men's basketball release non-conference schedule - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eagles men's basketball release non-conference schedule

Eagles to play trio of Pac-12 opponents Photo: EWU Athletics Eagles to play trio of Pac-12 opponents Photo: EWU Athletics

By EWU Athletics

His first season at the helm of the Eastern Washington University men's basketball team will be a challenging one – and road heavy -- for new head coach Shantay Legans.
 
Three Pac-12 Conference opponents and a stretch of 10-straight games away from home are the task ahead for the Eagles as their 2017-18 schedule was announced on Friday (Aug. 25). The Eagles are coming off a third-straight appearance in a national postseason tournament, and were 22-12 overall a year ago.
 
Eastern will play eight opponents who played in postseason tournaments last season, including five in the non-conference portion of EWU's schedule. Utah and South Dakota advanced to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), Georgia State advanced to the College Insider Tournament (CIT) and San Francisco and Wyoming joined EWU in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).
 
The other three postseason opponents came from the Big Sky Conference – North Dakota in the NCAA Tournament and Idaho and Weber State in the CIT. In all, Eastern will play teams from 10 different conferences, with all but two of its games versus NCAA Division I opposition. Seven opponents won at least 20 games a year ago – Georgia State, Utah, San Francisco, South Dakota, Wyoming, North Dakota and Weber State.
 
The Pac-12 opponents are Washington, Stanford and Utah, and the Eagles also play Mountain West Conference foes Wyoming and UNLV. San Francisco and Seattle – with a familiar face on the sideline – are EWU's two West Coast Conference foes.
 
"Overall, we have a good mix of opponents," said Legans. "It is a great opportunity to get a chance to play three Pac-12 opponents and two Mountain West teams. We also play against WAC, WCC, and Summit league opponents, and all of these games will help us get a better feel for our players individually and how they play together as a team. More importantly, these games will get us ready for Big Sky play."
 
  
Game-by-Game Look at the Schedule . . .
 
After opening the season at home on Nov. 10 against Walla Walla in the debut of Legans' head coaching career, the Eagles go on the road for 10-straight games. The Eagles play at Pac-12 foes Washington on Nov. 12 and Stanford on Nov. 12 and Nov. 14, respectively, before playing three games in Las Vegas.
 
Eastern will play at UNLV on Nov. 17, then take on Georgia State on Nov. 20 in the MGM Resorts Grand Main Event at T-Mobile Arena. Eastern will play either Prairie A&M or Eastern Kentucky on Nov. 22 in the championship or consolation game in the tournament's "Middleweight" bracket.
 
Eastern plays its third Pac-12 opponent in the month when the Eagles travel to Utah on Nov. 24, then take on former Eastern head coach Jim Hayford and Seattle on Dec. 3. Eastern's road stretch closes with difficult road games versus fellow 20-victory teams San Francisco on Dec. 7, South Dakota on Dec. 10 and Wyoming on Dec. 12.
 
Eastern will host Cal State Northridge on Dec. 17 and University of Providence on Dec. 20 prior to opening Big Sky Conference play.
 
"We are really excited about our non-conference schedule," added Legans. "It will be great to start off at home versus Walla Walla and introduce the team to Eagle Nation. We then play 10 consecutive road games against tough, accomplished teams and we couldn't be more excited to see how we fare against some of the top competition on the West Coast."

The league season begins on Dec. 29 at Northern Colorado (11-18/7-11 Big Sky), followed by a game against defending Big Sky regular season and tournament champion North Dakota (22-10/14-4) on New Year's Eve. Eastern opens its league home schedule on Jan. 4 versus Portland State (15-16/7-11) and Jan. 6 against Sacramento State (13-18/9-9).
 
Eastern hosts Idaho (19-14/12-6) on Jan. 12 in a doubleheader with EWU's women's team. Other home games on EWU's schedule include Jan. 25 against North Dakota, Jan. 27 versus UNC, Feb. 15 against rival Montana (16-16/11-7), Feb. 17 against Montana State (16-16/11-7), March 1 against Southern Utah (6-27/3-15) and March 3 versus Northern Arizona (9-23/6-12).
 
Other conference road games are Jan. 18 at NAU, Jan. 20 at Southern Utah, Feb. 1 at Sacramento State, Feb. 3 at Portland State, Feb. 9 at Idaho, Feb. 22 at Weber State (20-14/12-6) and Feb. 24 at Idaho State (5-26/3-15).
 
The Big Sky Conference Tournament is scheduled to be played at the Reno Events Center for the third-straight season. Action gets underway with the first round on March 6, followed by the quarterfinals on March 8, semifinals on March 9 and the championship on March 10.

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