THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2005
Countdown to Tipoff - Two Days
Nov. 13, 2005
Part four of the five-part series previewing the upcoming JU season. Today is a look at the schedule and the A-Sun. -
When Warren went about making his schedule, he didn't give himself any nights off. The Dolphins face one of the toughest schedules in recent history, going on the road to face Georgia Tech and Florida, while brining Florida State into Jacksonville to open the season in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, which will also be site of the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament this year.
All of that is added onto 20 games in Atlantic Sun Conference play.
"Our schedule is going to be very competititve and prepare us for the rigors of Atlantic Sun Conference play," Warren said. "We've increased the competitiveness and in the process we are raising the awareness of JU, getting more media exposure by playing nationally ranked teams."
Another bonus to the tough schedule is the Dolphins will be battle-tested when they enter in conference play on Dec. 2 against archrival North Florida at Swisher Gymnasium.
"I want our players to strive to beat the best players in the nation," Warren said. "The only way you can do that is by playing them and we're going to do that this year. I want them to be able to compare themselves to those players and see where they need to improve to get to that level."
The A-Sun will have a 20-game schedule for the second straight season, with each team playing a home-and-home series against the other 10 teams in the league.
"With 20 conference games, it doesn't leave a lot of room for non-conference games," Warren said. "The conference schedule is going to be very challenging because we won't get a lot of preparation time in between games."
The Atlantic Sun Conference is in a period of transition as Troy, UCF and Georgia State leave and Kennesaw State, North Florida and East Tennessee State join the league. The conference stays with 11 teams until Florida Atlantic leaves following this season.
Gardner-Webb returns all five starters from last year's team which claimed the regular-season title before falling in the tournament championship game to UCF. The Bulldogs are picked by both the media and the coaches to repeat as conference champs in 2005-06.
East Tennessee State comes to the A-Sun after a successful run in the Southern Conference and is led by point guard Timmy Smith. The Bucs also have the added advantage of hosting the A-Sun Championship this year. The coaches in the A-Sun believe ETSU will win the tournament title this year.
The Dolphins were picked by the coaches to finish eighth in the league while the media picked JU to finish seventh.
2005-06 MEN'S BASKETBALL