Northwestern State staying close to home in 2019-20

NSU and men's basketball coach Mike McConathy released their 2019-20 schedule Friday. CREDIT: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services

Northwestern State basketball fans will have more opportunities to see the Demons close to home in the 2019-2020 season as NSU will play every game in Louisiana, Texas or Arkansas.

The Southland Conference schedule expands to 20 games (increase of two) with league play starting Dec. 18, the first time in the Mike McConathy era that league play starts before Christmas.

Before NSU dives into a lengthy conference slate, the Demons will face a nine-game nonconference schedule with two of its first three games at home.

NSU opens against Centenary on Nov. 5 as part of a volleyball doubleheader with the Demons heading to play Texas A&M on the next night (Nov. 6).

The Demons return home to host Rice on Nov. 12, the second time Rice has visited Prather Coliseum and the fourth straight season in which the teams have met.

“It’s great to be able to start a season that way, and we’re hoping that having two of the first three games of the season at home will put us in a position to be successful,” said NSU coach Mike McConathy, who will begin his 21st in Natchitoches. “Rice has been a really tough matchup for us (NSU nearly knocked off the Owls 100-93 in 2016), but at the same time, they are well coached and do what they do well.

“We have an opportunity to have a few days off to prepare for them at home, so to have them coming to our place is pretty exciting.”

NSU plays five Louisiana opponents in nonconference action, and the Demons see three consecutively at Tulane on Nov. 16, at home against Louisiana College on Nov. 19 and at ULM on Nov. 26.

December starts with a three-game road trip with visits to SMU (Dec. 3), LSU (Dec. 8) and the SLC opener at regular season champion Sam Houston State on Dec. 18.

LSU advanced to the Sweet 16 and is one of two NCAA Tournament opponents on the Demons’ slate (Abilene Christian).

“It’s always important to go to places where you have some name recognition because of geography,” McConathy said. “The biggest thing is going and competing at a high level, and then being able to figure out our needs.

“Our recruiting base is always Louisiana first, but we don’t have as many as we’ve had in the past. So we felt like we had to expand our borders.”

NSU reenters SLC play when Lamar visits on Dec. 21, one day after fall graduation in Prather Coliseum.

The Demons wrap up nonconference play with Champion Christian (Ark.) at home on Dec. 29.

“With the Southland Conference schedule increasing to 20 games, it has made scheduling very difficult because of the guarantee games we are required to play and the series we already had in place with ULM and Rice,” said McConathy, who typically plays four or five games against teams from Power Five leagues.

The new year begins Jan. 2 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before sprinting home to host Houston Baptist on Jan. 5 as part of a doubleheader.

The Demons hit the road for its next three contests – at Incarnate Word (Jan. 8), at McNeese (Jan. 11) and at Nicholls (Jan. 15).

NSU will attempt to “Pack Prather” when Stephen F. Austin visits Jan. 22 before the Demons host Southeastern in a Jan. 25 doubleheader, one of five home doubleheaders this season.

The road-heavy January ends at UNO on Jan. 29 before NSU starts February at home against Central Arkansas (Feb. 1) and SLC Tournament champion Abilene Christian (Feb. 5).

After a Feb. 8 trip to Houston Baptist, NSU plays the next three at home against UIW (Feb. 12), McNeese (Feb. 15) and Nicholls (Feb. 19).

NSU closes out February on the road against SFA (Feb. 26) and Southeastern (Feb. 29).

The Demons have two regular-season games in March – a home game against UNO (March 4) and a visit to UCA (March 7).

The SLC Tournament will be held March 11-15 in Katy, Texas.


Men’s Basketball Schedule

Date      Opponent                           Time

11/5       vs. Centenary                    5:30 p.m.

11/6       at Texas A&M                    TBA

11/12    vs. Rice                               6:30 p.m.

11/16    at Tulane                            TBA

11/19    vs. Louisiana College       6:30 p.m.

11/26    at ULM                                6:30 p.m.

12/3       at SMU                                TBA

12/8       at LSU                                 TBA

12/18    at Sam Houston State     TBA

12/21    vs. Lamar                            3 p.m.

12/29    vs. Champion Christian   4 p.m.

1/2         at TAMU-Corpus Christi  TBA

1/5         vs. Houston Baptist         4 p.m.

1/8         at Incarnate Word           TBA

1/11       at McNeese                       3:30 p.m.

1/15       at Nicholls                          TBA

1/22       vs. Stephen F. Austin       6:30 p.m.

1/25       vs. Southeastern               3 p.m.

1/29       at New Orleans                 TBA

2/1         vs. Central Arkansas        3 p.m.

2/5         vs. Abilene Christian        6:30 p.m.

2/8         at Houston Baptist           TBA

2/12       vs. Incarnate Word          TBA

2/15       vs. McNeese                      3 p.m.

2/19       vs. Nicholls                         6:30 p.m.

2/26       at Stephen F. Austin        TBA

2/29       at Southeastern                TBA

3/4         vs. New Orleans                 6:30 p.m.

3/7         at Central Arkansas          3 p.m.

3/11-15  Southland Conference Tournament        Katy, Texas