SAN MARCOS, Calif. – The Cal State San Marcos men’s basketball team, under head coach B.J. Foster, has released its schedule for the upcoming 2017-18 season, with the Cougars hosting 17 games inside The Sports Center and taking part in a 22-game league schedule. CSUSM’s regular season will begin with the CCAA/PacWest Challenge at home against a pair of opponents from the Pacific West Conference.
Last season, the Cougars posted an 18-10 record and would have qualified for the California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament had the club been postseason eligible during the NCAA Division II transition. It was the best winning percentage for CSUSM men’s basketball under Foster in its short NCAA tenure.
CSUSM’s schedule is home heavy to start the year with the first eight games of the year slated to be played at The Sports Center. All 11 road games of the 2017-18 season are CCAA contests.
“Truthfully, we are not looking at all of the home games,” Foster said. “We are just looking to play good basketball early.
Beginning the string of eight straight home games, the Cougars will host the two-day CCAA/PacWest Challenge on Nov. 10-11. Last season, Cal State San Marcos traveled to Irvine for the same tournament and came away with a split. The team will open the tournament on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. with Biola, entering its final year of NCAA Division II candidacy, looking to avenge last season’s opening game loss. CSUSM will then face Concordia-Irvine at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 in critical in-region competitions.
“We open with a great tournament at home,” Foster said. “Biola is a great addition to Division II and Concordia will be fighting for a spot in the regionals this year. With bringing Chico State as the fourth team, we are going to see great basketball right off the bat.”
Cal State San Marcos will then host four non-conference opponents. West Coast Baptist (Nov. 16, 7 p.m.) begins the quartet of games. The Sports Center will be jam-packed with three games coming against opponents over a five-day span, including contests against Azusa Pacific (Nov. 21), Concordia-Portland (Nov. 24) and San Diego Christian (Nov. 25). All three games tip off at 7 p.m. The Cougars went 10-4 at home last season.
“The non-league games against good teams is how we will be measured in the region,” Foster said. “With some good play and wins, we can control our own destiny later on.”
CSUSM will open league play against Cal State East Bay (Nov. 30) and defending CCAA champion UC San Diego (Dec. 2) rekindling the local rivalry before heading out for its first road trip of the season. Cal Poly Pomona (Dec. 9) will host the Cougars. A Sunday game at Cal State Dominguez Hills (Dec. 17) opens a quick road trip that concludes at Cal State L.A. (Dec. 19).
After the NCAA holiday break, Cal State San Marcos plays a split schedule to close out the calendar year heading to Stanislaus State (Dec. 29) before returning home to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a matinee against San Francisco State (Dec. 31, 3 p.m.).
The opening matchups of 2018 at home will feature the defending West Region champions from Chico State (Jan. 4) and Humboldt State (Jan. 6). CSUSM heads back north the following weekend to face Cal State East Bay (Jan. 11) and Cal State Monterey Bay (Jan. 13). A week later, a single home game against Stanislaus State (Jan. 20) precedes a string where three of the team’s next four matchups are away from San Marcos. Rivalry game part two is mid-week against UCSD (Jan. 23) in La Jolla while Sonoma State comes to campus two days later (Jan. 25).
Despite opening February on the road – the Cougars will play at San Francisco State (Feb. 2) and Sonoma State (Feb. 3) – CSUSM comes back for four of six games at home near the end of the regular season. The Cougars open with their lone game against Cal State San Bernardino (Feb. 9) and welcome in Cal Poly Pomona the next night (Feb. 10). CSUSM will compete in rematches with Humboldt State (Feb. 15) and Chico State (Feb. 17) during the last road trip prior to the postseason. The 2017-18 regular season concludes with Senior Weekend against Cal State L.A. (Feb. 22) and Cal State Dominguez Hills (Feb. 24).
“Our guys were motivated last year even without the possibility of playing in the postseason,” Foster added. “With a chance to get into CCAA Tournament this year, our guys are going to be hungry. We will work on having the right frame of mind throughout the year.”
The 2017-18 CCAA Tournament will begin early the next week with the first round at school sites before the semifinals and finals take place at Kellogg Arena on the Cal Poly Pomona campus. The NCAA West Regional is scheduled to begin on March 9 and competition at the NCAA Elite Eight at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux City, S.D. going from March 20-24.
“We are going to be an exciting team with guys that will able to score the ball,” Foster said. “We return a lot of guys from a team that would have had the best 3-point shooting percentage in either Division I or II (43.8 percent) and we believe we are as talented as any team in the country.”