Fairmont State has released its 2013-2014 basketball schedule.
The announcement stated in black and white exactly who the Falcons will play, but it revealed even more about the games which dates, times and locations are still undetermined— the playoff games.
Fairmont State basketball coach Jerrod Calhoun has said repeatedly that his goal is to win the NCAA Division II national championship.
The Falcons took their first step toward that objective by scheduling as many top-tier programs as possible to improve FSU’s ranking and therefore increase its chances of hosting the tournament.
"I took a page out of (West Virginia University coach Bob Huggins') book. He always wanted to play the best competition in the country,” Calhoun said. “If you're going to be a national program, you have to play national programs that are nationally known at the Division II level.”
After opening the season on Nov. 4 with an exhibition game at WVU in what Calhoun called “the game everybody is talking about,” the Falcons will host the first-ever “Joe Retton Classic.”
The tournament is what is known as an “exempt tournament.” Each Division II university is permitted to play a maximum of 26 games. But once every four seasons, a team can hold a tournament and play two additional contests that count for the teams’ overall record.
The Falcons are taking advantage of the rule on Nov. 10 and 11 when they host Bowie State and Virginia State, two NCAA Tournament teams from last season.
“We've got to be very good early,” Calhoun said. "We wanted to get really good teams in that tournament because we think that's really going to kick off our year. It's going to be a great two days of basketball.”
After the tournament, the Falcons will travel to Winston Salem State on Nov. 16 to face another top team in the region. It is just another step to prepare the Falcons to host the tournament.
Fairmont State’s region includes the PSAC, CIAA and Mountain East Conference. By playing teams in the region, but outside of the conference, Fairmont State increases its chances of earning the high ranking necessary to play the post-season at home.
"I don't think there is another Division II team that has as many in-region, non-conference games,” he said. “We have three in-region games that are going to count toward our regional rankings that could really set us up if we have a good season to host the NCAA Tournament.”
Calhoun also has Nov. 19 circled on his calendar when the Falcons host Bellarmine, a private Catholic university in Louisville which won the 2011 Division II national championship and has appeared in several more Final Fours in recent years.
“They are a top 10 program in the country every year,” Calhoun said.
The logic behind hosting the NCAA Tournament is simple. Of the eight teams that advanced to last year’s Elite Eight, all hosted the NCAA Tournament games. Calhoun is hoping that his team can be the next to repeat this trend.
"When you are trying to make the NCAA Tournament— and our goal is to host the NCAA Tournament— we want to put ourselves in a great spot to play the best non-conference schedule in the country,” Calhoun said. “I think we've done that with this year's schedule.”
While the schedule assuredly will be challenging, Calhoun and the Falcons hope to be up to the task.
“"I think we did an unbelievable job of scheduling. We play a very tough schedule, one of the toughest in the country.
“Our expectation is just to win the league first and foremost. We want to win the conference; then we want to compete for a national championship.”
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.
Fairmont State has released its 2013-2014 basketball schedule.
- Fairmont State Sports
Cold-shooting Lady Falcons fall to State
In its biggest game of the season to date Fairmont State suffered its worst performance.
Fifth-seeded FSU shot a season-low 29.5 percent from the field (18-of-61), including a dismal 8-of-33 showing (24.2 percent) in the second half and as a result fell, 71-59, to fourth-seeded West Virginia State in the quarterfinals of the first Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament here Thursday night at the Charleston Civic Center.
Falcons hope for tournament run
Since day one, making another post-season run has been at the top of Fairmont State coach Jerrod Calhoun’s mind.
Last season the Falcons went three-for-four in the WVIAC Tournament, falling to West Liberty in the tournament’s final game. The strong run, though, propelled the Falcons into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed.
FSU women roll in MEC Tourney opener
Fifth-seeded Fairmont State didn't waste any time Tuesday night punching its ticket for Charleston and earning a berth in the Mountain East Conference Women's Basketball Tournament quarterfinals Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center.
Wimbush named MEC Freshman of the Year
Thomas Wimbush has been named Mountain East Conference Freshman of the Year, as announced by the league office this afternoon. Wimbush also joined teammates Stevie Browning and Brendan Cooper on the MEC second team.
FSU women to open MEC Tournament
When Fairmont State’s women’s basketball team toppled Shepherd, 103-80, Saturday, coach Steve McDonald didn’t know who his team would face.
Falcons edge Shepherd, earn first-round bye: PHOTOS
The scenario Saturday afternoon on Senior Day for Fairmont State's men's basketball team in its regular-season finale against visiting Shepherd University was pretty simple.
Win and receive an automatic first-round bye in the upcoming Mountain East Conference Basketball Tournament. Lose and host a first-round game Tuesday night at the Joe Retton Arena.
Innocent, Garrett star as Lady Falcons roll: PHOTOS
Saturday afternoon on Senior Day at the Joe Retton Arena Fairmont State senior Brianna Innocent was anything but that against visiting Shepherd University.
The 6-foot-1 backup center came off the bench and torched the Lady Rams in the regular-season finale for 27 points and a career-high 16 rebounds to help lead FSU to a 103-80 victory.
COLUMN: Senior season comes full circle for FSU’s Innocent
In like a lion, out like a lamb. That old adage could be used to describe Bri Innocent’s senior season with Fairmont State.
Not to say that she finished her season quietly. Quite the opposite actually.
In her first game in a Falcon uniform, she played like a lion, pouring in 20 points and ripping down 10 rebounds.
FSU looks to close regular season with win
Fairmont State University’s men’s basketball team closed practice on Thursday the way it hopes to close out the regular season today at home against Shepherd at 4 p.m., directly following the women’s contest at 2 p.m.
Sophomore guard Stevie Browning went head-to-head with graduate student assistant coach Sidney Crist in a 3-point shootout.
FSU offering $1 tickets for Saturday’s games
The Fairmont State athletic department will be offering a $1 general admission ticket to any fan that donates a non-perishable food or personal care item at Saturday’s basketball doubleheader against Shepherd.
The doubleheader will begin at 2 p.m. with the women’s game and will be followed by the men’s contest at approximately 4 p.m.
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