By: Rick Bender
HANOVER, N.H. â€” Dartmouth men’s basketball head coach David McLaughlin announced the Big Green’s schedule for the 2019-20 season. The slate includes a road test against a team that advanced to the Round of 32 in the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, an in-season tournament at UMass Lowell and a three-game trip through Ohio, Georgia and Florida, not to mention Dartmouth’s annual battles with regional teams.
“We are excited about the schedule we built for this season.” McLaughlin said. “We have some tough in- and out-of-region road opponents, as well as some quality home competition to help get us ready for league play come January. I really like the challenges and opportunities this year’s schedule presents to help us learn more about our group each time we take the floor.”
McLaughlin will get a quick assessment of his team when the Big Green travel to Buffalo for the season opener on Nov. 8. The Bulls, who defeated Dartmouth last year as one of their 59 victories over the past two seasons, were nationally ranked throughout the 2018-19 campaign and entered the Big Dance as a six-seed in the West Region, knocking off Arizona State in the first round before succumbing to eventual runner-up Texas Tech.
Dartmouth returns to Hanover for its home opener three days later when Florida Gulf Coast invades Leede Arena in the first-ever matchup between the two schools on the hardwood. The Eagles have topped 20 wins in six of the past seven seasons, reaching the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT in two other years.
After a three-day, round-robin tournament at UMass Lowell (Nov. 15-17) that also features Merrimack and Jacksonville, Dartmouth plays a pre-finals tuneup against Thomas College out of Waterville, Maine. The the Green travel to Bowling Green (Nov. 30), Georgia State (Dec. 3) and South Florida (Dec. 6) before wrapping up the road trip with two games in New England at Maine (Dec. 11) and Boston University (Dec. 14). Dartmouth defeated both of those last two teams a year ago by a combined 36 points in Hanover.
Big Green fans will get to see their team before the Christmas holiday with Central Connecticut State coming to town on Dec. 18, followed by Bryant three days later. The final two non-conference games will bridge the new year, first at in-state rival New Hampshire (Dec. 30), then back at Leede Arena against twin-state rival Vermont (Jan. 2).
With the start of the winter term, Dartmouth gets a bit of a breather as the Ivy League opener isn’t until Jan. 18 when the Green travel to Harvard before the Crimson return the favor a week later. The final six weeks feature the Friday-Saturday gauntlet the Ancient Eight is known for, starting with trips to Princeton and Penn (Jan. 31-Feb. 1) as well as Brown and Yale (Feb. 7-8). The flip side of playing five of the first conference contests on the road is that Dartmouth will play six of its last eight in Hanover, including four in a row against Columbia (Feb. 14), Cornell (Feb. 15), Penn (Feb. 21) and Princeton (Feb. 22).
After traveling to New York to take on Cornell and Columbia â€” the latter on Leap Day â€” the Big Green will conclude the regular season with Yale and Brown at Leede Arena on March 6-7.
Dartmouth will be vying for a spot among the top four in the league standings in order to qualify for its first trip to the Ivy League Tournament, in its fourth year of existence and hosted by Harvard for the first time. The semifinals are set for March 14 with the championship game the following day, which also happens to be Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament.
Last year, Dartmouth was 11-19 overall and posted a 2-12 record in McLaughlin’s third season at the helm. Of those 12 league losses, eight were by five points or fewer, six by no more than three, and two ending in overtime. But with most of last year’s cast returning, along with five promising freshmen, the Big Green are planning on taking the lessons they learned from those close calls and making a leap up the standings this winter.
All home games and road Ivy League games will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Bob Lipman joined by Dave Faucher and Eric Berry calling the action.
Season tickets are on sale now at the Dartmouth Athletics Ticket Office. Call 603-646-2466 to reserve your seats today.