CLEVELAND, Ohio – Coming off a 19-8 record and a trip to the NCAA tournament, Cleveland State’s basketball team will play will some big-name programs on the road this season.
Here are a few highlights from their nonconference schedule. The Horizon League schedule will be announced in September:
1. While Duke missed the NCAA tournament, the Blue Devils are No. 10 in ESPN’s early rankings. On Dec. 18, the Vikings travel to Durham, N.C. to face coach Mike Krzyzewski in his final season as Duke’s coach.
2. The Vikings play at 2021 NCAA tournament teams Oklahoma State (Dec. 13) and Brigham Young (Nov. 9). Oklahoma State is ranked No. 22 in ESPN’s poll. Brigham Young was 20-7 last season.
3. Ohio made the NCAA tournament from the MAC, and the Bobcats come to the Wolstein Center on Nov. 13. CSU also plays another MAC opponent: at Kent State on Dec. 21.
“We are excited to have Ohio coming on a Saturday (Nov. 13),” said CSU Athletic Director Scott Garrett. “That should bring in a good crowd. Overall, we’re happy about the interest in the program.”
PEOPLE STARTING TO PAY ATTENTION
Garrett said the following:
1. All the courtside seats have been sold. “It’s about 200,” said Garrett. “It’s the first time anyone in the athletic department can recall that happening.”
2. Garrett said CSU has sold more than 600 season tickets, up about 25% from the end of the 2019-20 season. Garrett said more than $100,000 worth of tickets have been sold for the upcoming season and the full schedule has not been announced.
3. The 2019-20 season was the last time CSU had fans at games. It was the first year for the Garrett-Dennis Gates combination. The Vikings were 11-21 that season. They averaged 1,501 fans – their best total since 1,996 in 2014-15.
4. It’s hard to know what CSU would have drawn last season, but an average of 2,500 was probably realistic. The Vikings tied Wright State for the Horizon League regular-season title, then won the conference tournament to earn the school’s first NCAA bid since 2008-09.
THE SCHEDULE PAYOFF
1. Most mid-major teams play games against big-time opponents to bring in money. Before COVID-19 changed schedules, the Vikings were set to play at Duke, Kentucky and Nebraska to bring in $300,000 for 2020-21. All those games were canceled.
2. This season, CSU will play at BYU ($80,000), Duke ($90,000) and Oklahoma State ($90,000).
3. Mid-major football teams also play on the road for guarantees, but that can lead to injuries. In basketball, the physical price of playing at Duke or elsewhere isn’t close to that of football.
4. Gates said: “The schedule will be a challenge and give us a chance to grow. We play teams from West Coast (BYU), Big 12 (Oklahoma State) and ACC (Duke) and all should be among the tops in their conferences. It will be a good barometer for us before we start playing in the Horizon.”
THE ROSTER IS LOADED
1. CSU has 19 players on its roster ... that’s right, 19!!!
2. The NCAA allowed every player an extra season because of COVID-19, even if his eligibility was up. Starters Torrey Patton and Craig Beaudion graduated, but are back for another year. They will attend graduate school. Also returning is Al Eichelberger, who began work on his Master of Business Administration degree last school year. “They are our Super Seniors because they came back,” said Gates.
3. Tre Gomillion was the Horizon League’s Defensive Player of the Year. Deante Johnson made first-team All-Defense last season. Both of these players are seniors. Patton was CSU’s leading scorer and rebounder. Beaudion led the team in assists. The team’s top seven scorers all are back.
4. CSU lost only one significant player from last season – Alec Oglesby, who transferred to North Carolina-Wilmington. He averaged 4.3 points. CSU has brought in four transfers and one freshman.
5. The fact that so many players stayed at CSU in this age of transfers is a testimony to how the program is viewed by those who play for Gates. CSU signed Gates to a six-year, $3 million extension after the season.
6. CSU was picked to finish seventh in the Horizon League a year ago. The Vikings are expected to be the favorites this season.
CLEVELAND STATE’S NONCONFERENCE SCHEDULE
Exhibition Oct. 30 vs. Case Western Reserve
Exhibition Nov. 5 vs. Otterbein
Nov. 9 @ BYU
Nov. 13 vs. Ohio
Nov. 16 vs. Edinboro
Nov. 20 vs. Canisius (Lake Erie Challenge)
Nov. 22 vs. Coppin State (Lake Erie Challenge)
Dec. 13 @ Oklahoma State
Dec. 18 @ Duke
Dec. 21 @ Kent State
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