SAINT LEO, Fla. – Head Coach Mike Madagan finalized and released his 2010-11 men’s basketball schedule at the beginning of October and this year’s lineup features trips into New York City and Valdosta, Ga. as well as welcoming two teams from Puerto Rico into the Marion Bowman Activities Center before the Christmas Break.
This year’s schedule features 28 regular season games, 15 road contests and 13 dates in the Marion Bowman Activities Center.
This season marks the second-consecutive year that the Lions open the season with an NCAA-granted exception as Saint Leo started 2009-10 at the Disney Tip-Off Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.
The reloaded Lions, minus graduated seniors and impact players Jordan Prais and Josue Vasquez, earned the exception to start their season early when they travel to Valdosta, Ga. on November 12th to participate in the Gulf South/Sunshine State Crossover hosted by Valdosta State University. The Lions will be thrown right into hostile territory as they open the season against host Valdosta State University in the VSU Complex as Saint Leo serves as the opening game for the Blazers.
The next day the Lions square off against Delta State University in an afternoon matinee where Saint Leo looks to establish itself in the South Region scene.
The Lions open their home schedule the following Tuesday when they welcome Trinity College from New Port Richey into the Bowman Center as Saint Leo looks to flex their muscles against the fellow Pasco Country school.
Following the home opener, Saint Leo will embark on its longest road trip of the season as the Lions will travel to the Big Apple and play in the Molloy Lions’ Classic on November 19th and 20th. The Green & Gold will fly into New York and will play two games in Rockville Center, the first in a neutral-site game against Franklin-Pierce and the next day’s opponent against either Molloy or Adelphi, the tournament’s other two teams.
Prior to Thanksgiving, the Lions will play their annual games against two international schools as this year the University of Puerto Rico – Bayamon visits on November 22nd and the University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras two days later.
The first Sunshine State Conference test comes on December 4th when Saint Leo travels to Florida Tech to visit the one team the Lions swept in 2009. Their first trip to Melbourne should be the one opportunity for Coach Madagan to gauge where his Lions are prior to the Holidays.
A December that sees just one home contest continues on the road for the Lions when they return the visit to Trinity College and then play their final game of 2010 at home against Palm Beach Atlantic University on December 17th.
An extended Christmas Break sees Saint Leo away from competition for 16 days, but the Lions will dive head first into conference play once the calendar turns to 2011.
In an unusual twist, and because New Year’s Day falls on Saturday, Saint Leo will host Lynn University on Sunday, January 2, 2011 beginning a nine-week stretch where the Lions play two games per week.
Hosting Florida Southern on January 5th, the Lions return to the road for games against Nova Southeastern (1/8) and Tampa (1/12) before opening up their longest home-stand of the season where they host Rollins (1/15), Eckerd (1/19) and Florida College (1/22) all at home.
The Lions’ longest in-conference road trip follows when the Lions travel to Miami Shores on January 26th to square off against Barry University. The game against the Buccaneers completes the Lions first journey through the Sunshine State Conference.
In the second-half of conference play, the Lions will travel to Lynn (2/2), Florida Southern (2/9), Rollins (2/12) and Eckerd (2/23) while hosting Florida Tech (1/29), Nova Southeastern (2/5), Tampa (2/16) and Barry (2/26). Saint Leo will also squeeze in a trip to Temple Terrace to face Florida College on February 17th and a contest against Palm Beach Atlantic in West Palm Beach on February 19th.
The Lions’ matchup against Barry on February 26th will also mark Senior Day for both men's and women's basketball teams.
Just missing opportunities to host the first-round of the Sunshine State Conference Tournament in the past three seasons, the Lions will look to position themselves in a prime spot for a solid conference run come February.
Hopefully, and if the Lions get some lucky breaks during the long season, a deep run into the conference playoffs and a berth in the NCAA tournament awaits Saint Leo.