JU men’s basketball releases 2008-09 schedule
A year ago, the JU men’s basketball team faced a schedule that saw the Dolphins on the road a lot.

That has changed this season as the Dolphins will play 15 home games, starting with Atlantic Coast Conference foe Florida State on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.

“Last year we faced a difficult schedule and this year is no different,” said JU head coach Cliff Warren. “We’re fortunate to have more home games than last year, which is going to allow our fans a chance to see this team play more often.”

Season tickets are available now for a low as $150 for general admission. Club seat season tickets are $230, that includes pre-game hospitality meal and Q&A session with the coaching staff. Courtside seats are available for $300.

This is the last chance for fans to purchase JU season ticket packages to get first priority for tickets to the first and second rounds of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. For every two JU season tickets a fan order, they have the right of first refusal for one NCAA Tournament ticket.

“There is a lot of excitement around the program this season,” said JU director of athletics Alan Verlander. “With a good home schedule, our season tickets are much more valuable this year. Then, throw in the fact you get the first chance to buy tickets to the NCAA Tournament and makes it a bargain.”

The schedule features three teams that appeared in last year’s NCAA Tournament, with American at home on Nov. 22, a trip to Baylor on Nov. 24 and Belmont at home (Dec. 4) as well as on the road (Feb. 28) to close out the regular season.

JU will also face two teams that played in the NIT last year, including defending champion – Ohio State on Dec. 17 and Florida State.

“We build our non-conference schedule to prepare us for the rigors of conference play, which is the important part of our schedule,” Warren said. “We have made it a point of emphasis with our schedule the past few years to play some of the top teams in the country and we’re doing that again this season.”

Warren will also take the Dolphins back to Georgia Tech, where he served as an assistant coach before taking the reins of the program at JU three years ago.

“I will always be thankful to Coach Hewitt for the opportunity he gave me and this is a great game for our program to face a very good team from the ACC,” Warren said. “We have a lot of kids from Georgia and this game gives their families a chance to come watch them play near home.”

The non-conference schedule includes three home games, starting with Bethune-Cookman on Dec. 22, a return visit from former A-Sun rival Troy on Dec. 29 and Savannah State on Jan. 20.

The A-Sun moves to a 20-game conference schedule this season with 11 teams in the league. The teams will be battling for seeding in the seven-team conference tournament, with the No. 1 seed receiving a bye to the semifinals.

“With 20 games this season, we are going to have a long, hard conference schedule that will test every team because anyone can win on any given night,” Warren said.

The Dolphins will host two of the A-Sun’s “Game of the Week” telecasts – vs. Mercer on Jan. 9 and ETSU on Jan. 30.

“We are excited that we are hosting two televised games this season, which will help showcase this program, the University and the city of Jacksonville,” Warren said. “Any opportunity we have to play on television brings added exposure to the program and makes the game more of an event.”