Friday December 6th, 2019 1:59PM

Bulldogs’ non-conference basketball schedule set

By Georgia Sports Communications

ATHENS — Georgia Basketball’s non-conference schedule for the 2019-20 campaign has been finalized. The Bulldogs will open the season by hosting Western Carolina at Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday, Nov. 5, one of eight home dates among the 13 pre-SEC outings.

Eight of the teams Georgia could face in November and December reached postseason play a year ago, while two more topped the 20-win plateau.

“Our goal in building a non-conference schedule is always to challenge our team and prepare for the unbelievable competition we will see night-in and night-out in the SEC,” head coach Tom Crean said. “This schedule features some tremendous challenges for us at home, road and neutral sites. We’re going to be a young basketball team with nine newcomers, and we’ll need to grow up fast.”

The home schedule also includes hosting Georgia Tech on Wednesday, Nov. 20. This year’s contest will be only the third time in 195 meetings that the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets have faced off prior to Thanksgiving and will take place with UGA students on campus. Of late, the game has usually been played during the Christmas break.

“I’m thrilled that the Georgia Tech game will be played on a weeknight when our entire student body is in town,” Crean said. “Our students were tremendous last season, and we’re going to need that enthusiasm and energy to grow to even a more fevered pitch this year.”

Also visiting Stegeman Coliseum will be The Citadel on Nov. 12, Delaware State on Nov. 15, North Carolina Central on Dec. 4, SMU on Dec. 20, Georgia Southern on Dec. 23 and Austin Peay on Dec. 30. 

Away from Athens, Georgia will take part in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Nov. 25-27, travel to Arizona State on Dec. 14 and trek to Memphis on Jan. 4. The date with the Tigers will feature teams with two of the nation’s top-5 recruiting classes squaring off.

Following the four-game homestead to begin the season, the Bulldogs will travel to Maui for the first time ever and play three games in as many days. The bracket will be revealed at a later date for the tournament which also features BYU, Dayton, Kansas, Michigan State, UCLA, Virginia Tech and tourney host Chaminade. 

The Bulldogs will host North Carolina Central after returning from Maui and then have a 10-day break from competition during Final Exams. Georgia will travel to Arizona State and then host SMU, Georgia Southern and Austin Peay in a 10-day span. The Memphis game completes non-conference play and is one of four home-and-home matchups for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons in a new scheduling alliance between the SEC and the American Conference. Other Jan. 4 outings include SMU at Vanderbilt and Ole Miss at Wichita State, while South Carolina will host Houston on Dec. 8 as well.

The Bulldogs’ 2019-20 home schedule will feature 17 home games – eight non-conference and nine SEC outings against Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

Last season, Georgia broke its all-time total attendance record during Crean’s first season at the helm. That excitement is growing for the upcoming campaign as the Bulldogs welcome one of the nation’s top-5 recruiting classes that features five of the top-100 prospects in the Class of 2019. In addition, Georgia’s roster features five letterwinners who combined to score exactly 1,000 points last season.

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