AKRON, Ohio – A spot in the 2014 Gildan Charleston Classic, three meetings with former conference foes and 17 regular-season home contests highlight the 2014-15 Akron Zips men's basketball schedule, 11th-year head coach Keith Dambrot and the Mid-American Conference office announced on Wednesday.
The Zips' schedule features match-ups with opponents from the Big Ten (Penn State), Pac-12 (USC) and Conference USA (Marshall, Middle Tennessee), with the potential to add opponents from the ACC [Miami (Fla.)], SEC (South Carolina), Colonial Athletic Association (Drexel) CUSA (Charlotte) and Ivy League (Cornell).
"This year's schedule is a difficult one, providing us the chance to play multiple high-major programs and a pair of quality mid-majors at home," Dambrot said. "We are happy to have 16 homes games, including nine in a 10-game stretch, as well as having the opportunity to play in an ESPN-sponsored event for the third-straight season."
Akron will open its campaign on Monday, Nov. 10, with an exhibition contest against Rochester College. The Zips will play host to UMBC on Friday, Nov. 14, in its regular-season opener at James A. Rhodes Arena, the first of eight home non-conference games. The contest will be part of a triple-header with tipoff set for 8 p.m. ET. The first two games will be part of the women's basketball Akron Classic tournament, with the first game set to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET and the women's team opening the defense of its MAC title playing at 6 p.m.
Six days later, the Zips open the 2014 Gildan Charleston Classic, in Charleston, S.C., against USC on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3. With a win, the Zips would face the winner of the Drexel-Miami (Fla.) contest on Friday, Nov 21. That game is also set to air on ESPN2 or ESPNU, with tip-off scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET. UA could also face Charlotte, Cornell, Penn State or South Carolina on the final day of the event (Nov. 23), based on how the bracket unfolds.
The squad will then leave Charleston for University Park, Pa., and a November 25 match-up at Penn State. After the meeting with the Nittany Lions, the Zips will open a four-game home stand against Bryant on Sunday, Nov. 30.
Akron will welcome Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 2), Western Illinois (Dec. 4) and Middle Tennessee (Dec. 13) to the JAR to conclude its home stand before traveling to Fargo, N.D., to face North Dakota State on Dec. 16. The meeting with the Bison is a return game from the 2013 Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters event (UA won 68-53).
UA will then conclude non-conference play with home matchups against Bluffton (Dec. 20), Marshall (Dec. 30) and Coppin State (Jan. 3).
"Our non-conference schedule will provide our fans a lot of chances to see us compete, as well as giving our young backcourt a chance to mature before opening MAC play," Dambrot said. "Our league schedule is equally challenging as we face the top-two teams in the West Division – Western Michigan and Toledo – twice in the regular season."
Akron opens its Mid-American Conference slate on Jan. 6 when it plays host to defending league champion Western Michigan. The Zips play four home games [WMU, Bowling Green (Jan. 14), Central Michigan (Jan. 17) and Ball State (Jan. 27)] and four road games [at Toledo (Jan. 9), at Northern Illinois (Jan. 21), at Western Michigan (Jan. 24) and at Bowling Green (Jan. 31)] in the month of January.
The month of February will see the Zips open play at Ohio on Feb. 4 before playing host to Buffalo (Feb. 7) and Kent State (Feb. 10). Following a Valentine's Day meeting at Eastern Michigan (Feb. 14), UA will play three of its final four games of the month at home. Akron will welcome Toledo (Feb. 18), Miami (Ohio) (Feb. 21) and Ohio (Feb. 28) to the JAR while traveling to Buffalo on Feb. 24.
The squad will conclude league play with road games at Miami (Ohio) (March 3) and Kent State (March 6). The MAC Tournament is set for March 9 (campus sites) and March 11-14 (Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland).
The Zips return four starters and nine letterwinners from last season's squad that posted a 21-13 overall record and a 12-6 mark in MAC play. UA posted 21 or more wins for a ninth-straight season, joining the likes of Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Over the last 10 seasons, the Zips have won 231 games, most by any team in the MAC and tied for 30th among all Division I programs.
Akron made its seventh-straight postseason appearance, playing in the 2014 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament. The Zips are one of just 25 programs to play in a postseason tournament in each of the last seven seasons.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2014-15 season, with ticket packages starting at $75. In addition to season tickets, fans can also take advantage of the Zips All-Access 10-Pack, presented by Papa John's Pizza for $90. This package gives fans 10 ticket vouchers that can be redeemed at all six of Akron's ticket sports (football, men's and women's soccer, volleyball and men's and women's basketball).
Akron alumni can purchase the Alumni All-Sport Season Ticket Package for $175 (valued at $505).
Tickets can be purchased online anytime at GoZips.com/Tickets, or from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET on Mondays through Fridays by either calling 1-888-99-AKRON (25766) or visiting The C.P. and Cornelia S. Chima Athletics Ticket Office at InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field (located at 375 E. Exchange Street, near Gate 1 at the southwest corner of the venue, at the corner of E. Exchange and S. Union streets).
2014-15 Akron Basketball Schedule
Mon, Nov. 10 – Rochester College (Mich.)#
Fri., Nov. 14 – UMBC
Thurs., Nov. 20 – vs. USC (ESPN3)^
Fri., Nov. 21 – vs. Drexel or Miami (Fla.) (ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3)^
Sun., Nov. 23 – TBD (ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPN3)^
Tues., Nov. 25 – at Penn State
Sun., Nov. 30 – Bryant
Tues., Dec. 2 – Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Thurs., Dec. 4 – Western Illinois
Sat., Dec. 13 – Middle Tennessee
Tues., Dec. 16 – at North Dakota State
Sat., Dec. 20 – Bluffton
Tues., Dec. 30 – Marshall
Sat., Jan. 3 – Coppin State
Tues., Jan. 6 – Western Michigan*
Fri., Jan. 9 – at Toledo*
Wed., Jan. 14 – Bowling Green*
Sat., Jan. 17 – Central Michigan*
Wed., Jan. 21 – at Northern Illinois*
Sat., Jan. 24 – at Western Michigan*
Tues., Jan. 27 – Ball State*
Sat., Jan. 31 – at Bowling Green*
Wed., Feb. 4 – at Ohio*
Sat., Feb. 7 – Buffalo*
Tues., Feb. 10 – Kent State*
Sat., Feb. 14 – at Eastern Michigan*
Wed., Feb. 18 – Toledo*
Sat., Feb. 21 – Miami (Ohio)*
Tues., Feb. 24 – at Buffalo*
Sat., Feb. 28 – Ohio*
Tues., March 3 – at Miami (Ohio)*
Fri., March 6 – at Kent State*
Mon., March 9 – MAC Tournament (campus sites)
March 11-14 – MAC Tournament (Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland)
# – Exhibition
^ – 2014 Gildan Charleston Classic (Charleston, S.C.)
* – Mid-American Conference game