JU hosting Florida highlights 2009-10 men’s basketball schedule

The JU men’s basketball team has faced some difficult schedules during the first four years of the Cliff Warren era. The 2009-10 slate will continue that theme as JU released its schedule on Friday.

The Dolphins will face four teams expected to make the NCAA Tournament, with three of those on the road as JU will travel to Florida State (Nov. 16), California (Nov. 24) and South Carolina (Nov. 27). JU will host Florida for the first time since 2004 on Dec. 4 at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

Season tickets are on sale now through the JU ticket office. General admission seats are $160 and reserved seats, including a pregame meal, are $240. For more information, contact Nikki Swanson at (904) 256-7444.

“Our non-conference schedule will be challenging once again this year,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “The goal in playing high-major teams is to prepare us for conference play and being able to host a two-time national champion in our building is generating excitement about our upcoming season.”

The Florida game is the only non-conference home game for JU, but is one of 18 games that the Dolphins will play inside the state of Florida this season. Jacksonville will have 10 home games in Atlantic Sun Conference play, starting with Mercer on Jan. 2.

“It has been difficult to get home games this year due to our recent success and the fact that we just won the conference title last year,” said JU director of athletics Alan Verlander. “We will have to go on the road more this year, but it is another indication of where Cliff, his staff and the players have taken our program. I hope our alumni and fans understand this and will come out and support our team when we are at home."

JU opens the season against the Seminoles for the second straight year, a rematch of last year’s game that saw FSU come away with a 59-57 win. The game will be televised live on Sun Sports from Tallahassee.

The Dolphins will head west to California and then come back east to play South Carolina after Thanksgiving. Three days later, JU will head to Atlanta for the second straight season – this time to face Georgia State (Nov. 30).

Jacksonville will get four days to prepare for the home opener against Florida, that will also be broadcast live on Sun Sports – one of four televised.

After a 12-day break for finals, the Dolphins will resume their campaign at Bethune-Cookman before opening A-Sun play on the road at Campbell (Dec. 19) and at East Tennessee State (Dec. 21) in a rematch of last year’s A-Sun Tournament title game.

Jacksonville wraps up the 2009 portion of the schedule in the UCF Holiday Classic – opening the tournament against Buffalo and facing either Liberty or UCF in the second game.

The Dolphins will play nine games at the Arena this year, with two games set for Swisher Gymnasium. All conference home games will be doubleheaders with the women’s team this year.

The home schedule in conference play starts at the Arena with Mercer (Jan. 2), followed by Kennesaw State (Jan. 4). The Dolphins will host Lipscomb (Jan. 14) and Belmont (Jan. 16) in the Arena as well.

The Dolphins will host the SunTrust River City Rumble against UNF at Swisher Gymnasium (Jan. 18) and USC Upstate (Jan. 23).

After two weeks on the road, JU will return home to play four of its final six games at the Arena – starting with Florida Gulf Coast (Feb. 11) and Stetson (Feb. 13). JU wraps up its regular season schedule with Campbell (Feb. 25) and ETSU (Feb. 27).

The top eight teams will advance to the A-Sun Tournament which will be in Macon, Ga., hosted by Mercer.