Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Georgia State University Panthers Announce Basketball Schedule

Non-conference games against Georgia Tech, Florida State and Minnesota highlight the 2008-09 Georgia State men’s basketball schedule, announced Wednesday by head coach Rod Barnes.

Now in his second season at Georgia State, Barnes has the Panthers poised for significant improvement. Georgia State returns its top scorer in all-CAA guard Leonard Mendez as well as its top rebounder in senior Rashad Chase, and five transfers from Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big East programs become eligible this season.

"We’re still building our program but we’re excited about what we can be this season," said Barnes, the 2001 Naismith National Coach of the Year at Mississippi. "We have more depth and talent, and we should be able to run and press and create more action on both ends of the floor. That’s the style I want to play, and we’re looking forward to doing that this season."

Georgia State opens the regular season in the NABC Classic at Minnesota, where the Panthers will face host Minnesota, Bowling Green and Concordia-St. Paul in a three-day span, Nov. 14-16.

"Playing in a preseason tournament, especially with a quality team like Minnesota, is a challenge but it’s a great opportunity for our team," said Barnes. "With so many new players in the lineup, we will find out a lot about our team very quickly."

Barnes is well-acquainted with Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith from their days in the SEC. Smith’s youngest son, Brian, played for Barnes at Ole Miss.

In December, the Panthers face back-to-back ACC foes. Florida State visits the Georgia State Sports Arena for the second time in three years on Saturday, Dec. 13. Four days later, State travels across town to play at Georgia Tech on Wednesday, Dec. 17. Last season, the Panthers dropped a five-point game against Tech at the Sports Arena.

Georgia State’s non-conference slate also includes home games against Jacksonville State, Coastal Carolina, Hampton and Southern Poly as well as road contests at Troy and UTSA. The Panthers will face an additional non-conference road test in the annual ESPN Bracketbuster event, scheduled for Feb. 21.

The 18-game CAA schedule begins with a road game at UNC Wilmington on Saturday, Dec. 5, and then resumes at home against Old Dominion on Saturday, Jan. 3.

The CAA schedule rotation has Georgia State playing home-and-home against VCU, Old Dominion, UNC Wilmington, Northeastern, Drexel, Delaware and Towson, home only against James Madison and Hofstra, and road only at George Mason and William and Mary.

With the exception of the Jan. 5 date at George Mason, all CAA games are currently scheduled for Wednesdays and Saturdays; however, conference games may move from Wednesday to Tuesday or Thursday or from Saturday to Sunday for television. The CAA television schedule will be announced later this month.

The CAA Championship is scheduled for Mar. 6-9 in Richmond, Va.

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