The Gamecocks face one of the most diverse non-conference schedules in their Division I history this season with potential opponents from 10 different Division I conferences, and the highlight is a late December trip to the Virgin Islands.
Coach James Green’s team will play Arkansas-Little Rock in the opening round of the Virgin Islands Holiday Tournament and then face either Southern Miss or Coppin State in the second round. Florida State and Illinois also are on the Gamecocks’ non-conference schedule.
They also play at Bradley Nov. 10 in the Global Sports Invitational, Chicago State, Dartmouth, Alabama A&M and Central Michigan, a game that’s part of a home-and-home package.
The Gamecocks’ non-conference home games are currently Alabama State, Alcorn State, NAIA start-up Dalton (Ga.) State and Central Michigan.
JSU athletics director Warren Koegel confirmed the teams to The Star on Wednesday.
The combined record of these non-conference opponents last season was 173-222. Five teams posted winning records and two — Illinois (23-13) and Southern Miss (27-10) — were 20-game winners. The Gamecocks were 17-11 last season and return two of their top three scorers — Darion Rackley (13.7) and Brian Williams (13.1).
In addition to the home-and-home series within the Ohio Valley Conference East, the Gamecocks will play West Division foes Eastern Illinois, SIU-Edwardsville and UT-Martin at home, Murray State, Austin Peay and Southeast Missouri on the road.
The Gamecocks were stripped of three games last season as part of their APR historical penalties, but have the full complement for this season.
The return game from last year’s Bracket Busters matchup with UNC-Asheville — a JSU home game — is being put off until the following season.
Koegel said there was one other game in the works dependent on the teams and dates available.
“James is working on a couple things and we’re working on things to help them,” Koegel said.
Green is entering his sixth season as the Gamecocks’ head coach. He is on the verge of receiving a new contract that Koegel said only awaits president Bill Meehan’s signature to become official.
Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.