After having its 2017-18 season ruined by one Baltimore-area team, the Virginia men’s basketball team will face another in a potential palate cleanser this fall.
Towson announced Tuesday that it will travel to Charlottesville to face the Cavaliers, a preseason top-10 team, in its season opener Nov. 6. It will be Virginia’s first game since a 74-54 loss to UMBC in the first round of the NCAA tournament, the first time a men’s No. 1 seed lost to a No. 16 seed since the tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
The Cavaliers should be as heavily favored against the Tigers as they were against the Retrievers, if not more so. Despite the loss of second-round NBA draft pick Devon Hall and Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year Isaiah Wilkins, Virginia returns All-ACC guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome. Reigning league Sixth Man of the Year De'Andre Hunter is also a projected lottery pick in next year's draft.
Towson, meanwhile, will lean on several newcomers in what figures to be a rebuilding year. After losses to graduation and transfer, including leading scorer Zane Martin, the Tigers' most experienced returning players are starting forward Alex Thomas and reserve guard Jordan McNeil (Mount Saint Joseph), who averaged a combined 7.6 points and 33 minutes per game last season.
The Tigers later will host Loyola Maryland (Nov. 25) and Vermont (Nov. 30) and face George Washington (Dec. 5), Morgan State (Dec. 8) and UMBC (Dec. 11) on the road. The team also will participate in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase in November and the Battle of the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., in December.
"We're excited about the challenges our nonconference schedule will provide our team this season," Towson coach Pat Skerry said in a release. "We're looking forward to competing in a pair of strong tournaments in nice locations. It's always good to play a variety of teams from different conferences with unique styles and our schedule accomplishes that. The challenging nonconference slate will prepare us for then what will be another arduous CAA slate."