The Eastern Washington University men’s basketball team will get a taste of the new and old Big East Conference this winter.
The 31-game schedule for the Eagles includes a trip to the East Coast to play Connecticut and Seton Hall, as well as six opponents which played in national postseason tournaments a year ago. The schedule, announced by third-year head coach Jim Hayford, includes 20 Big Sky Conference games and a total of 14 home contests.
“I think the Big Sky Conference is going to be more difficult -- there are many teams returning solid rosters,” Hayford said. “We have a very challenging preseason that will prepare us for a great conference season.”
“The East Coast trip jumps out at you -- it is an excellent opportunity for our guys to see a different part of the country and to experience playing against one of the nation’s elite programs,” said Hayford. “I know the guys are looking forward to that trip.”
Eastern’s preseason also includes a trip to Seattle to play Washington from the Pac-12 Conference. Eastern’s non-conference home games include Pacific University, Walla Walla, Seattle and UC Irvine.
“It will be the first time since I have been the head coach that we have played the Huskies and traveled over to Seattle,” said Hayford. “It is always a neat challenge to see how we stack up against the larger schools in the state.”
In all, Eastern’s 2013-14 schedule includes 10 games versus six schools who participated in national postseason tournaments a year ago. Eastern will play six games against those opponents on the road, and four games at home.
The Big Sky Conference Tournament will take place March 13-15 at the site of the regular season champion. For the second-straight year, it will include seven teams, with the regular season champion receiving a first-round bye. The tournament will include a quarterfinal round with six of the teams playing, followed by semifinals and the championship game.