LAKE CHARLES, La. – Visits to NCAA Tournament participant Wisconsin on Nov. 13 and reigning NIT champion Texas on Nov. 30 highlights the 2019-20 basketball schedule for the McNeese Cowboys.
In addition, the Cowboys will open up the season on Nov. 6 at Western Michigan of the MAC and will visit Louisiana-Lafayette (Nov. 9), at New Mexico (Nov. 16), and at Richmond (Nov. 22) and will take part in the Legends Classic which will includes those campus-site games at Wisconsin, New Mexico and Richmond.
McNeese will open its home slate on Nov. 11 against Southern-New Orleans.
The Cowboys will also host Arlington Baptist (Nov. 18) and Campbellsville-Harrodsburg (Dec. 3) before hosting Missouri-Kansas City of the WAC on Dec. 10. McNeese will close out it’s non-conference slate on Dec. 18 when it hosts Paul Quinn.
“I think our preseason schedule will be very challenging but will get us prepared for league play,” said second-year head coach Heath Schroyer.
The Southland Conference season, which now consists of 20 games, will begin on Dec. 21 for the Cowboys when they host Stephen F. Austin.
“Obviously with our league moving to 20 games and the games we are required to play in the preseason, made this year’s schedule very challenging to put together,” said Schroyer. “We open up league play in December with two of the perennial powers in our conference in SFA and Sam Houston State.”
The Cowboys return their top two scorers and rebounders from a year ago – Sha’Markus Kennedy and Roydell Brown as well as Trey Johnson, who saw a significant amount of playing time as a true freshman. McNeese will get the services of A.J. Lawson and Jeremy Harrell, both who had to sit out last season due to transfer rules, and five other transfers who are expected to present an immediate impact to this year’s squad.
“I’m really excited about our group and can’t wait to get started,” said Schroyer.
Wisconsin finished 23-11 last season and was the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament but was upset by Oregon in the first round. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Western Michigan will also be a first-time opponent for the Cowboys.
Texas compiled a 21-16 record en route to the NIT championship where it defeated Lipscomb by an 81-66 score. The Longhorns and Cowboys have met just twice before with UT winning both games, the most recent coming in the 2001-02 season that saw McNeese advance to the NCAA Tournament.
The game at New Mexico will be the second meeting in the history of the series with the Lobos winning the first contest back in the 1998-99 season. New Mexico plays in the Mountain West Conference.
Richmond and the Cowboys will tangle for the fourth time even as the Spiders, a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, have won the previous three meetings.
UMKC will visit Lake Charles for the first time after the two teams played for the first time last season in Kansas City and the Roos taking an 80-67 win over the Cowboys.
McNeese and ULL will renew its annual rivalry the second game of the season, this time in Lafayette. The Cajuns defeated the Cowboys 80-67 last year.
In addition to hosting SFA in conference play, the Cowboys will also play at home against Sam Houston State (Jan. 2), Northwestern State (Jan. 11), Incarnate Word (Jan. 15), Houston Baptist (Jan. 25), Nicholls (Jan. 29), Lamar (Feb. 1), Central Arkansas (Feb. 8), New Orleans (Feb. 22), and Southeastern Louisiana (Feb. 26).