GW released its 2011-2012 schedule Tuesday, highlighted by 15 opponents that advanced to postseason play last March.
The schedule is a sign of new head coach Mike Lonergan’s efforts to push his program with a challenging slate of opponents designed to strengthen the team and improve its chances of success within the Atlantic 10.
“I always believe in playing tough schedules. It’s great for recruiting, it’s great for our fans,” Lonergan said. “My mentors always said to be the best, you have to play the best.”
GW’s season will again kick off with an exhibition game against Bowie State, hosting the Bulldogs on Nov. 6. Lonergan’s first season will officially begin five days later, when the Colonials host the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Nov. 11.
GW will then swing into its previously announced non-conference schedule. The program will play its next six games away from home, beginning with the CBE Classic, where the Colonials will travel to the University of California Nov. 13. GW will complete the tournament by traveling to Bowling Green, Ohio, playing three games in three days against Detriot, Austin Peay and Bowling Green.
Lonergan said he also inherited a schedule that needed to add “at least four” games, he said, a challenge that necessitated the large number of road games on GW’s schedule.
GW will conclude its road trip Dec. 1 at Kansas State before heading back to the District to take on 2011 NCAA Final Four Participant VCU in the annual BB&T Classic. Lonergan said that he expects Kansas State to be a home-and-home series, and thinks the Wildcats will travel to Foggy Bottom during the 2012-2013 season.
The Colonials will return to the Smith Center to host Loyola University Maryland Dec. 7, pitting Lonergan against former Catholic University teammate and roommate Jimmy Patsos, the head coach of the Greyhounds. GW returns to the road Dec. 10 to take on Big East powerhouse Syracuse.
GW hosts Bradley Dec. 15, James Madison Dec. 22, UAB Dec. 28 and Delaware State Dec. 31. GW will complete its non-conference schedule Jan. 14 at Harvard.
GW will open Atlantic 10 play Jan. 4 at St. Bonaventure, then traveling to Saint Louis Jan. 7 before hosting its first conference opponent when Rhode Island travels to Foggy Bottom Jan. 11. The Colonials will also host Xavier, Richmond, Duquesne, Massachusetts, Saint Joseph’s, Charlotte and La Salle. GW will also travel to Richmond, Temple, Dayton, Fordham, Charlotte and La Salle.
Lonergan said his players are excited about the schedule, seeing it as an opportunity to improve their record of play.
“It’s a group that’s motivated to prove something. No one on our current roster has advanced, we’ve lost in the first round of A-10 tournament every year,” Lonergan said. “Seniors only have one year to do it. If they want to leave any legacy behind this is an opportunity for them to go out and have a special season.”