Kevin Baggett and Rider attempt to prove their second-place regular season finish last year was no fluke, and Broncs' nonconference schedule suggests nothing different, with trips to Purdue and Villanova among highlights. (Photo courtesy of the Times of Trenton)
Four down, seven to go.
Rider University today became the fourth MAAC school to release its men's basketball nonconference schedule, joining Manhattan, Siena and Niagara before them in unveiling a nine-game ledger that will showcase the mettle and strong defensive game of Kevin Baggett's Broncs, who surprised fans and critics alike last season with their second-place showing in the regular season, Baggett's first at the helm as successor to Tommy Dempsey, who left southern New Jersey for Binghamton in the summer of 2012.
Following a November 2nd exhibition at venerable Alumni Gym against West Chester University of Pennsylvania, the alma mater of former San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers linebacker Lee Woodall, the Broncs officially christen their 2013-14 campaign on November 12th in the Keystone State, when they travel to the Stabler Arena in Bethlehem for a meeting with Lehigh, the Patriot League foe known in national circles for producing No. 10 overall NBA Draft pick C.J. McCollum, who led the Mountain Hawks to their iconic upset of Duke as a No. 15 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Five days later, Rider will head to Indiana for the first meeting in school history with Purdue, who will use the contest as a tuneup for fellow MAAC program Siena, who comes to Mackey Arena on November 22nd.
Following the trip to the Hoosier State to face the Boilermakers, Rider heads to the Detrick Gym in New Britain for a November 23rd collision with former Northeast Conference adversary Central Connecticut State, their final game before the Broncs' home opener three nights later against Will Brown and reigning America East champion Albany. From there, Rider will travel across the country to participate in the Cable Car Classic on November 29th and 30th, a tournament that has also attracted Rice and North Dakota State to join both the Broncs and event host Santa Clara. A two-week hiatus for final exams and, presumably, the start of MAAC play, ensues before Rider returns home to Alumni Gym on December 14th to take on native New Jerseyan Bashir Mason and Wagner College.
Rider has two other nonconference contests, the first coming on the road when they take on Villanova from The Pavilion December 21st, with Penn serving as the Broncs' final non-league opponent when the Quakers journey across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge for a December 29th showdown in Lawrenceville.