Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina head men's basketball coach Frank Martin announced on Tuesday his team's non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2019-20 campaign. Carolina embarks on a 13-game pre-conference slate, which includes eight home contests, participation in the Cancun Challenge in late November, and road contests at UMass, Clemson and at defending national champion, Virginia in December.
"Once again we are excited about the non-conference schedule that we have put together," Martin said. "Our team will be challenged by postseason tournament teams in games on the road, on neutral courts and at home. There is a buzz in town about our team and we can't wait to see our great fans at Colonial Life Arena supporting these young men. The schedule will once again prepare us for how good we have to be to challenge for our ultimate goal, an SEC championship."
Carolina opens the season with five consecutive home contests, beginning Nov. 6 versus North Alabama. The Lions, led by former Alabama assistant coach Tony Pujol, return last season's Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year in Jamari Blackmon (14.6 ppg).
Following matchups against Wyoming (Nov. 10), which returns three of its top four scorers from last season, and Cleveland State (Nov. 15), the Gamecocks will host a pair of home games that are part of the Cancun Challenge. Boston University (Nov. 19), led by senior forward Max Mahoney (16.5 ppg last season, 62.9 percent from the field), travels to Columbia on Nov. 19, before Carolina hosts Gardner-Webb (Nov. 22), which made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament (D1) last March after claiming the 2019 Big South Conference title.
Next up is a trip to Mexico for the final two matchups of the Cancun Challenge and a contest against Wichita State (Nov. 26), before the Gamecocks will face either West Virginia or Northern Iowa (Nov. 27). The Shockers return three starters from last season's squad that advanced to the semifinals of the Postseason NIT, while West Virginia competed in the CBI. The Mountaineers of course are led by long-time head coach Bob Huggins, who Martin worked for at both Cincinnati and Kansas State. Northern Iowa is led by the reigning Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year, and the team's top returning scorer in sophomore AJ Green, the guard averaged 15.1 points per outing during his rookie campaign.
The Gamecocks return to Colonial Life Arena to host George Washington (Dec. 1), before a road matchup at UMass on Dec. 4. Carolina hosts Houston, which finished in the top 12 of both major national polls last season on Dec. 8, in advance of a two-game road swing before the holiday break. The Gamecocks travel to the Upstate on Dec. 15 to face Clemson, before traveling to Virginia on Dec. 22 to face the defending national champs in Charlottesville.
Rounding out the non-conference portion of the schedule is a home contest against Stetson on Dec. 30. Information about this season's exhibition contest will be released soon.