CHATTANOOGA—The Chattanooga Mocs men’s basketball team announced its 2019-20 schedule Wednesday morning. The Mocs host 14 contests with a mix of regional opposition.
The home schedule is highlighted with the return of Tennessee State to the Roundhouse in the Nov. 9 home opener. The Mocs and Tigers squared off on 33 occasions with 31 coming over a 26-year period between the 1971 and 1997 seasons. The good guys hold a 19-14 series advantage over TSU.
“It’s always good to have local teams play,” Coach Lamont Paris shared. “I’ve seen it in a lot of places. The biggest aspect is the atmosphere for the fans. It’s an easy trip for them like next year when we head to Nashville. Regional opponents who have an identity with our fan base is important to us (in crafting the schedule).”
Sun Belt members South Alabama (Nov. 15) and Troy (Dec. 15) also make their way to Gig City. The Trojans are part of an unusual in-season home-and-home non-conference series with a Nov. 12 matchup in Alabama. Chattanooga also makes trips to Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 5), Florida State (Nov. 20), Tennessee (Nov. 25), Virginia Tech (Dec. 11) and UNC Asheville (Dec. 21).
“It’s done a little more often these days,” Paris noted about the Troy series. “It’s an early prep for conference-style matchups. You play the first time and come back and have to make adjustments on both ends of the floor. It’s becoming more common with the difficulty to start series. Everyone wants to start at home. This way, you both get home games and there’s the added bonus of a conference-type preparation for the games.”
The Seminoles and Vols are part of the Emerald Coast Classic. The opening on-campus site matchups come before all eight teams involved descend on Niceville, Fla, just outside of Destin on the gulf coast. The Mocs pod includes Alabama State, Chicago State and Jacksonville State.
“It’s a very challenging schedule,” Paris continued. “We’ve got some high-quality opponents on the road in Tennessee, Florida State and Virginia Tech, along with our like-sized schools. There are a lot of road tests early as well. It’ll be good for us, a lot of great experiences for the guys with our upcoming Bahamas trip and the tournament in Florida (in November).”
The 18-game Southern Conference schedule starts on Dec. 3 with a trip to Western Carolina. It starts in earnest after the New Year on Jan. 4 at Mercer. Four of the home events are in January with visits from Furman (Jan. 8), Samford (Jan. 11), Wofford (Jan. 15) and The Citadel (Jan. 22). The five February fixtures feature visits from the Catamounts (Feb. 1), ETSU (Feb. 5), VMI (Feb. 12), Mercer (Feb. 22) and the season finale against UNCG (Feb. 29).
“You want to challenge yourself,” Paris added. “You have to give yourself a chance to win games, but you want to play good teams. I think there are four teams on there that not only went to the NCAA Tournament but also advanced. Those are big-time challenges. Playing tough games in the non-conference prepares for the conference games. I think we have at least done that.”