- Matthew Schwanke
Inaugural Men's MAAC Schedule
After being one game away from the chance to qualify for the “Big Dance,” Mount St. Mary’s men’s basketball team aimed to get back to that place in fall semester. With the schedule release, it was clear where the path would lead them.
Last year, the team finished with a respectable .500 in Northeast Conference (NEC) play going 9-9 (14-16 overall); they qualified for the fourth spot for the conference tournament. They were able to make it to the semi-final game where they barely lost to Bryant from Rhode Island. This season, however, they did not have the chance to reclaim their NEC title, as the Mount has made the move from NEC to MAAC.
The Mountaineers, after winning the NEC tournament two years ago, were predicted to finish tenth, receiving just 34 first-place votes. In comparison, the team predicted to finish in first, Iona, who has largely run this conference for the better part of the last decade, received 119 votes. Along with that, the predicted underdog Mount team has no predicted player to finish on the first or second all-conference team.
The Mount men’s season started on ESPN+ in Morgantown against West Virginia. This was most likely their second biggest test of the year, and no doubt a tough one as it was the first game. They, then, played at Coppin State before coming home to play their first game in Emmitsburg against McDaniel on Nov. 15.
After that, the men’s basketball squad jumped on a plane and headed out to California for a three-game stretch. Their first game was probably the toughest game the Mount has played since Kentucky. It was on Nov. 18 and it was against the University of Southern California. Subsequently, they played a game on ESPN+ against Cal Poly, before finishing up the West Coast trip against Pacific.
On Dec. 3, history was made as the Mountaineers played their first home MAAC game against Rider. Three days later they went back to their remaining non-conference game and played American at home.
The next two or their last three home games after that happened to be two rivalry games. The first is the historic Catholic Clash against Loyola, a team that they have played for over 100 years. And as if that was enough, just over a week later, the Mount played old rival Robert Morris, whom they beat last year after hitting a buzzer-beater to take it to overtime after an amazing comeback.
To close out the old year, back on the road in MAAC play, the Mount faced Niagara. Then to welcome the new year in, they played Canisius. A week later, they played Marist on the road, before coming back home to play their first game at the PNC Arena.
On Jan. 13, the Mountaineers got to play Manhattan, who recently fired their coach for unknown reasons. They continued the home stand two days later against Quinnipiac before heading back out away from the Burg to play Siena.
On Jan. 22, they began to replay some of their conference opponents and did so in a three-game home stand. It started against Marist, then Fairfield and then last year’s St. Peter’s.
After that, they went back to New England, first against Iona, then Quinnipiac and then came home to play Siena. Then, they were back in Connecticut to play Fairfield, before their second three-game home stretch of the season. On Feb. 17, they were against Niagara, then played Canisius and finished up at home playing the MAAC favorite, Iona.
They, then, finished their season in New Jersey against Rider and New York against Manhattan before MAAC tournament play begins.