The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team has released its tentative schedule for the 2008-09 season. The schedule is highlighted by seven contests with 2008 NCAA Tournament teams and an appearance in ESPN's Anaheim Classic, which includes three NCAA and two NIT teams among its eight-team field. In all, the 49ers slate will include at least 17 games against 2008 post-season teams - nine of which will be played at Halton Arena.
Charlotte advanced to the 2008 NIT, the eighth post-season trip in head coach Bobby Lutz's 10 seasons, last year. The 49ers finished tied for fourth in the Atlantic 10 and reached the A-10 semifinals, while posting a 20-14 record -- the school-record fifth 20-win season under Lutz. Charlotte returns four starters and nine of its top 10 players from last season.
"The high number of post-season teams from a year ago is indicative of how tough our schedule is in and out of league play," said 49ers head coach Bobby Lutz. "In league play, we start on the road and end on the road but in between we have eight excellent home (league) games in addition to Tulsa and Winthrop, two post-season teams. It stacks up as one of the toughest schedules we've had."
Charlotte's home slate includes three games against NCAA Tournament teams: Clemson, Winthrop and Xavier and three more against 2008 NIT teams: Dayton, 2008 NIT Finalist Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In addition, the 49ers host 2008 inuagural College Basketball Invitational (CBI) champ Tulsa and CBI participants Old Dominion and Richmond.
Charlotte's road schedule includes 2008 NCAA teams Davidson, which reached the Elite Eight, Saint Joseph's, Temple and Xavier as well as NIT teams Arizona State (at Anaheim Classic), Maryland and Southern Illinois.
The Anaheim Classic field includes NCAA teams Baylor, Cal-State Fullerton and St. Mary's as well as NIT quarterfinalist Arizona State, CBI participant UTEP and Providence and Wake Forest.
Charlotte will have home-and-home Atlantic 10 games with defending A-10 Champion Xavier, George Washington and Richmond.
"In two of our mirror series (George Washington and Richmond), both games are played within a short period of time," Lutz said. "That's unsual, to be sure, but its the same for both teams. It's just one unique factor with the schedule."