Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Binghamton University men's basketball team will open the 2014-15 season with two big non-conference match-ups.
The Bearcats are participating in the 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament and will open the season with back-to-back road games at Notre Dame (Nov. 14) and BIG EAST champion Providence (Nov. 17). Head coach Tommy Dempsey’s squad is one of eight teams split into two brackets competing in the event, which culminates with two neutral-site games at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. There, BU will play Manhattan on November 22 and either Navy or Northeastern on November 23.
“We are excited to be a part of the Hall of Fame Tournament,” Dempsey said. “This is a very well-run event that will afford our players an opportunity to compete against some great college basketball programs.”
Dempsey is familiar with the Tip-Off event, which is annually hosted by the MAAC. Dempsey’s 2010-11 Rider team competed in the tournament and the Broncs upset USC on the road before beating both Loyola Marymount and TCU to capture their bracket in Springfield, the venue when the event was held at the Basketball Hall of Fame.
The first-ever meeting with the Irish will send BU to South Bend, Ind. where the Bearcats will face a Notre Dame program that has advanced to the NCAA tournament in four of the last five seasons. The Irish, coached by Mike Brey, are coming off a 15-17 campaign – their first as a member of the ACC. They will return three starters and are expected to get a boost from the return of elite guard Jerian Grant (19.0 ppg.), who bypassed the NBA Draft. Notre Dame is 130-15 since 2006 at the Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,149 cap.).
Binghamton will get no reprieve three days later when the Bearcats travel to Providence to face a Friars team that went 23-12 en route to a BIG EAST title and NCAA tournament bid this past winter. Providence defeated Creighton in the BIG EAST championship game and head coach Ed Cooley returns three of his top five scorers from that team, led by senior forward LaDontae Henton (14.0 ppg., 7.9 rpg.). The Friars play at the 12,410-seat Dunkin’ Donuts Center, located in downtown Providence.
As a Division II program, BU played Providence in 2000-01, losing 119-58.
At Mohegan Sun, BU will see another 2014 NCAA tournament team in Manhattan. The Jaspers went 25-8, won the MAAC and led defending national champion Louisville with two minutes left in their memorable NCAA tournament game. Binghamton is 1-3 all-time against Manhattan. The Jaspers posted a 94-51 win in their last meeting in 2011 at the Events Center.
Binghamton and Manhattan will play at 8 p.m. on November 22 following the early game between Navy and Northeastern. The winners play for the championship at 8 p.m. on November 23, following a consolation game at 5:30 p.m.
The Bearcats and Navy have played in each of the last two seasons with the Mids winning both games.
Binghamton is 4-4 all-time against former America East member Northeastern, which now plays in the CAA.
Tickets for the two games at Mohegan Sun will go on sale to fans of participating schools at 10 a.m. on May 5 and the exclusive pre-sale opportunity (password protected) extends until August 1. Availability for the general public will begin on August 8. Fans can go to the Hall of Fame ticket website at http://www.halloffametipoff.com for more information.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University Athletics)