Twelve returning lettermen are back from last season's 23-9 team that led the nation in scoring during the regular season and won the Southland Conference Tournament championship to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
The schedule includes longtime in-state rivals Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana College, another visit to LSU in the state's oldest active basketball series, and a matchup with Louisiana Tech for the fifth straight season.
The home slate features a Nov. 30 matchup with tradition-rich Niagara after ULM's visit on Nov. 21, and nine Southland Conference doubleheaders, including visits by defending regular-season champion Stephen F. Austin and NSU's other main Southland neighborhood rival, McNeese.
The debut for the 101st season of Demon basketball comes Friday, Nov. 8, in Prather Coliseum against LeTourneau.
Two new Southland members will come to Prather Coliseum in the middle of the league race. Incarnate Word visits on Jan. 30, with Abilene Christian coming in Feb. 1, opening a four-game homestand that includes the Feb. 6 doubleheader with McNeese and a Feb. 8 twinbill against Nicholls.
All Southland home games will be doubleheaders started by the Lady Demons' matchups.
Away from league play, the Demons have a couple of unusual packets playing two road games in two days in different locations. Northwestern goes to Auburn for a Friday, Nov. 15 contest and plays at LSU the following night. On Dec. 18, NSU visits Baylor, then plays Texas-El Paso on Dec. 19.
Another high-profile road game comes Dec. 7 at Memphis.
"It's as challenging a schedule as we've played in my 15 seasons," said McConathy. "As we go through this non-conference season, we'll be tested time and again, which will prepare us very well for a bigger and even stronger Southland Conference.
"We're very pleased to have so many non-conference games against in-state teams. Those rivalries are extremely meaningful in the history of our program, and they will help to increase interest in college basketball around Louisiana. That's good for all involved and we are thankful to the coaches and administrators at those schools who see the great benefits of these type games," he said.
The Demons have six games against teams that played in 2013 postseason tournaments, including NCAA Tournament entry Memphis. Baylor won the NIT championship. Also in the NIT were Stephen F. Austin, Louisiana Tech and Niagara. Oral Roberts played in the College Insider Tournament
Preseason practice tips off earlier than ever, at 6 a.m. Monday, thanks to an NCAA rules change providing additional workouts heading into the early November season debuts.