The ACU athletics’ office released the men’s basketball 2015-2016 schedule Thursday afternoon. The schedule is highlighted by two non-conference games that will be played in Abilene at Moody Coliseum.
The Wildcats will host the University of New Hampshire (America East Conference) on Dec. 3 and California-Riverside (Big West Conference) on Dec. 18. ACU will play nine non-conference games against NCAA Div. I opponents before an 18-game Southland Conference schedule begins on Jan. 2 against Central Arkansas. The Wildcats defeated UCA last season, 87-70, in last year’s conference season opener.
“At our level, it’s extremely difficult to get Div. I home games in the fall semester,” head coach Joe Golding said. “It’ll be great to have New Hampshire and California-Riverside come to Abilene and hopefully we can get a couple of big wins.”
The team opens up the season with back-to-back home games against the University of Southwest and Howard Payne on Nov. 13 and Nov. 17. The Wildcats then travel to Oregon to play Portland on Nov. 22 and Colorado State on Nov. 24.
After the game against New Hampshire, ACU takes on Nebraska of the Big Ten Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska on Dec. 5. The Wildcats return back to the lone star state with two games in Abilene against Schreiner on Dec. 12 and California-Riverside. The Wildcats lost to Riverside, 76-56, last season on the west coast.
Texas Christian University is next on Dec. 20, with that game to be played in Fort Worth. The Wildcats nearly shocked the Horned Frogs two years ago in the metroplex, but fell 71-64. ACU makes one final out of state trip to Des Moines, Iowa to face Drake, before returning for their final non-conference game against Hillsdale Baptist in Abilene. ACU defeated Hillsdale, 93-53, two years ago.
“We’ve been able to put together a very challenging schedule, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to compete against some really good Div. I programs,” Golding said. “We’ll be tested early on, and hopefully that will help us be prepared for conference play.”
The conference season opens up with the first five of seven games coming on the road for the Wildcats. After UCA in Conway, Arkansas, ACU travels to Thibodeaux, Louisiana, to take on Nicholls on Jan. 9. The Wildcat’s first home conference game is against Northwestern State who finished last year 13-5 in conference, with one of those losses coming from ACU, 95-81.
The Wildcats play conference champion Stephen F. Austin once in Nacogdoches on Jan. 16. ACU wraps up the season with four of its final five games being played in Abilene. Southeastern Louisiana (9-23, 6-12), New Orleans (11-18, 6-12), Incarnate Word (18-11, 10-8) and Texas A&M- Corpus Christi (20-14, 13-5) will all visit Moody Coliseum as the season comes to a close on Mar. 5.