Senior forward Stephen Nwaukoni is one of four Mo Cassara holdovers leading Pride into new era under new coach Joe Mihalich, who revealed nonconference schedule this morning. (Photo courtesy of Hofstra University)
Eight days after Manhattan College became the first local college team to release its nonconference schedule, Hofstra University followed suit this morning, unveiling a schedule that will test a new-look Pride team early and often under first-year head coach Joe Mihalich, who arrived in Hempstead this past April after fifteen years at Niagara.
Hofstra's thirteenth season since reaching a second consecutive NCAA Tournament under Jay Wright begins on November 8th, when the Pride welcome the Monmouth Hawks; now members of the Metro Atlantic Conference that Mihalich is the winningest all-time coach in, to the Mack Sports Complex, and will play King Rice's squad looking for their first win against Monmouth in almost 30 years. Fellow New Jersey program Fairleigh Dickinson comes into Hempstead two nights later for the front end of an unconventional nonconference home-and-home series.
Following Hofstra's clash with the Knights, the Pride hit the road for the first time in 2013 when they travel to the Yum! Center for a November 12th collision with Rick Pitino and reigning national champion Louisville, the first preliminary game in the Hall of Fame tournament that Hofstra is participating in. After a trip to Richmond on November 19th, Hofstra will meet Hartford four days later at the Mohegan Sun Arena, with either Belmont or Holy Cross to follow the next day from Uncasville, Connecticut.
Hofstra concludes the month of November with a renewal of their series against local rival Manhattan, who comes to Hempstead on November 30th after emerging victorious from a hard-fought defensive battle at Draddy Gym when Steve Masiello's Jaspers barely defeated the Pride last November. Mihalich's team opens December on the fourth of the month with a home game against Sacred Heart, who just recently hired former Hofstra women's basketball assistant coach Jessica Mannetti as its head women's basketball coach. Following the Sacred Heart game, the Pride hit the road for a December 7th showdown with Southern Methodist University and Larry Brown, returning the favor that Brown and the Mustangs extended last year when they faced Hofstra on Long Island.
The third of four games against Northeast Conference teams comes on December 15th, when Hofstra will play host to Howie Dickenman and Central Connecticut State in their final home game before Christmas. The Pride's third and final nonconference game against Mihalich's former MAAC rivals comes on December 23rd, when Hofstra returns a BracketBuster game against Siena by making the trip up the New York State Thruway to meet the Saints and new coach Jimmy Patsos at the Times Union Center. Hofstra returns home five days later to close out 2013 when they take on George Washington from the Mack Sports Complex on December 28th, with their final nonconference home game before CAA play begins coming two days later against NJIT.
It is worth noting that the departure of George Mason for the Atlantic 10 gives Hofstra two extra nonconference games, which makes fifteen in total to go with the 16-game, double round robin, CAA schedule that the nine-team league will announce later in the offseason.
Hofstra's final nonconference games will open 2014, first against Tulane on January 2nd in New Orleans, a reprisal of last year's contest at the Barclays Center, with the back end of the Fairleigh Dickinson home-and-home closing out the non-league ledger on January 5th. A Daly Dose Of Hoops will have a detailed breakdown of the Hofstra nonconference schedule, along with quotes and analysis from head coach Joe Mihalich later in the week, so please continue to follow us for Hofstra basketball news.