Will the North Invade the South?
It’s not too early to talk basketball, is it?
The Charleston Classic bracket came out yesterday and it seems as if ESPN is hoping for a championship game that features Georgetown. The Hoyas have a dream scenario for the first two rounds as they open against Coastal Carolina before taking on either USC Upstate or Wofford (three South Carolina teams). I’m guessing the only reason they aren’t playing USC Upstate or Wofford in the opening round is because Wofford is the host school and the Terriers chose to play their hometown rival in the opening round (both Wofford and USC Upstate are located in Spartanburg, S.C.).
Mason, like Georgetown, has three (North) Carolina schools on its side of the bracket. Charlotte, the opening round opponent, is less than four hours from Carolina First Arena. Waiting in the next round is either N.C. State (four and a half hours) or East Carolina (five hours). But here’s the silver lining… a win in the opening round puts the Patriots in nationally-televised games in both the second and final rounds.
So what do we know about Charlotte? The 49ers will have played just once before facing Mason on November 18 with a home game on Saturday the 13th against S.C. State. Last year they were 19-12 with a 9-7 record in the A-10 and a 2-0 mark in neutral site games (Elon and Yale). They have a first-year head coach in Alan Major who was an assistant at Ohio State and Xavier but has never been a head coach.
The Wolfpack went 20-16 last season but they were just 5-11 in ACC games. They will have played just once entering the Charleston Classic with a home game against Tennessee Tech. East Carolina was 10-21 last year with a 4-12 mark in Conference USA. The Pirates face Erskine and Campbell at home before heading to Charleston. East Carolina is the only team in the field the Patriots have faced in the past nine seasons but, like Charlotte, they have a first-year head coach in Jeff Lebo. Lebo previously was the head coach at Auburn, UT-Chattanooga and Tennessee Tech. He was 75-43 in four seasons at Tech, 40-20 in two seasons at Chattanooga and 96-63 in six seasons at Auburn. Despite being the fifth-winningest coach in school history and one year removed from a 24-victory campaign (the second highest total in school history), Lebo was fired by Auburn. For the record, ECU’s only 20-win season came in 1953-54 when the Pirates won 23 games.
The Patriots will have just one regular-season game under their belt when they head south. The Patriots host Harvard on November 13. You can look at the non-conference schedule here. Deposits are now being accepted for full season tickets for the 2010-11 season. For more information click here or call the Athletic Ticket Office at 703-993-3270.