Released Wednesday, the schedule begins Nov. 8 with a four-day tournament at the KSU Convocation Center. The Owls will play Youngstown State, Eastern Kentucky, Florida International and Warren Wilson — a small college from Asheville, N.C., that plays in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association — on consecutive days.
“We wanted to start the year and give ourselves a chance to evaluate the team and the 13 guys we have on the roster,” said Owls coach Lewis Preston, entering his third season at the helm. “These guys have prior college experience, and it will be a great opportunity to get them on the court and to get the fans an up-close and personal look at the team.
“(The tournament is) something I’ve wanted to put together, and we’re looking to do something like this every other year. It’s a great opportunity to bring in some quality and like opponents who will challenge us right from the start and prepare us for the season.”
After games at Mississippi State and Chattanooga, Kennesaw State will return home to host IPFW on Nov. 24 and Truett-McConnell — an NAIA school from the north Georgia town of Cleveland — on Nov. 26.
A trip to Cincinnati on Nov. 29 is the first of seven consecutive road contests for the Owls, who won’t return to the Convocation Center until Jan. 4 against Atlantic Sun Conference rival East Tennessee State.
In that stretch, Kennesaw State will make trips to Kent State, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern and Indiana before beginning A-Sun play at North Florida and Jacksonville.
“A lot of those road games, like Georgia Southern, North Florida and Jacksonville, are return games from last season,” Preston said. “We have a gap after Kent State for exams, which will give our guys a chance to catch their breaths and evaluate what’s happened up until that point. Then, we’re in-state against Tech and Georgia Southern before really going on the road again for our conference schedule.”
Kennesaw State will play 18 A-Sun games in all, including two each against departing members Mercer and East Tennessee State — both of whom are leaving for the Southern Conference in 2014.
The final home game is scheduled for March 1 against North Florida.
The top eight teams at the end of the regular season will make the A-Sun tournament, which will be hosted at campus sites for the first time. It’s a change from the conference’s previous preference of basing the tournament at one site, as it has since the league’s inception in 1979.
“There are a lot of good teams in this conference from top to bottom,” Preston said. “Once again, it will be a great challenge for us. We’ll take it one game at a time, and make sure we have the best five guys on the floor battling to get a win.”