ORONO, Maine – The University of Maine men's basketball program announced its 2014-15 schedule on Thursday, featuring 27 regular season contests coupled with an early-season tournament, and 12 home games for the Black Bears.
"Our schedule is going to challenge us in a lot of different ways," head coach Bob Walsh said. "We want to play against great competition year-in and year-out to get ready for the America East, and we understand we have to prepare at a high level every day to be ready. We are looking forward to the challenge."
Maine will get primed for the season, opening with two exhibition contests on Nov. 1 and Nov. 6 against Southern Maine and Husson. The Black Bears will travel to USM and host the Eagles at the Cross Insurance Center.
The regular season starts with four-straight road contests highlighted by a Nov. 15 trip to Butler to the play the Bulldogs for the first time in program history. The schedule-opener is followed by a contest against NJIT (Nov. 17), a tournament hosted by Central Michigan (Nov. 21-23) and a battle with Northern Illinois (Nov. 30).
Maine opens with Wagner at home on Dec. 2 to kick off the home slate before taking to the road once again for a rematch from 2013-14 against Dartmouth (Dec. 6) in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The Black Bears will once again play in front of the home crowd on Dec. 9 hosting LIU-Brooklyn for an early-week matchup and finish out 2014 on the road against Boston College (Dec. 11), Army (Dec. 21), Seton Hall (Dec. 27), and Quinnipiac (Dec. 29).
As the new calendar year starts, so too does America East play. Beginning on Jan. 3 the Black Bears will open on the road against defending conference champion, Albany.
Maine then opens America East play at home with the busiest schedule of the season, with seven home contests packed into January. Vermont comes to Maine on Jan. 7 before the squad heads back onto the road to face Binghamton on Jan. 10.
The Black Bears then begin a stretch of four-straight home games against UMass-Lowell (Jan. 13), Stony Brook (Jan. 17), NJIT (Jan. 19), and UMBC (Jan. 22). Maine takes to the road once more as it travels to the Hawks of Hartford for a Jan. 25 showdown but then is back home against New Hampshire on Jan. 28 and Albany on Jan. 31 to round out the month.
Maine opens up February in Burlington, Vermont, for a Feb. 3 matchup with the Catamounts, before coming back home for one of its final two home games of the year against Binghamton on Feb. 7.
A three-game road swing will send Maine to Stony Brook on (Feb. 14), UMass-Lowell (Feb. 18) and UMBC (Feb. 21) before playing in its regular-season home finale against Hartford on Feb. 25.
The Black Bears will play its final conference and regular season contest on Feb. 28 against archrival New Hampshire.
The America East has also changed playoff formats from a singular host site to the high-seeds (top four seeds) hosting each round. The first round of games will be on March 4, with the next round taking place on March 8 and the championship being played on March 14.
The Black Bears return three starters from 2013-14 including the team's second leading point scorer, Zarko Valjarevic. Along with Maine's returners are the addition of two exciting young players in Kevin Little and Aaron Calixte. The Black Bears will be coached by a new coaching staff this year, led by former Rhode Island College head coach Bob Walsh and his assistants Matt O'Brien, Zak Boisvert and Antone Gray.