Hempstead, NY - Matchups against a defending-conference champion, a team led by a Hall-of-Fame coach and a contest in the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn highlight the Hofstra men's basketball non-conference schedule, which head coach Mo Cassara released today.

The schedule includes a pair of contests against teams that qualified for the postseason last year (Manhattan and LIU-Brooklyn), including a road game against a two-time NEC champion Blackbirds squad that participated in the NCAA Tournament.

"Our schedule is full of talented teams that will help us prepare for Colonial Athletic Association competition," Cassara said. "All the teams we are playing and very well-coached. The local games are great for the fans and beneficial  for us to not have to travel far to face good teams."   

A challenging slate of competitions will feature at least three matchups against teams that won 20 games in 2011-12. The Pride will also participate in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. Dates and matchups for the tournament will be announced later this summer but will feature one road game, coupled with a three-game home tournament from Nov. 16-18.

The Pride will open the regular season at Monmouth on Nov. 9 with a 7 p.m. game. Hofstra fans will also get a chance to see an overhauled roster of six new players host a Southern Methodist University team coached by Hall-of-Famer Larry Brown at the Mack Sports Complex on Dec. 1 at 4 p.m.

On Dec. 22, Hofstra will get a look at the Barclays Center, the new home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, when the Pride face Tulane. A starting time for that game has not yet been posted.

The out-of-conference schedule will showcase a slew of local rivals. After hosting Manhattan last year, the Pride will make the short trek to Draddy Gymnasium to face the Jaspers on Nov. 21. Manhattan went 21-13 last season and earned an appearance in the College Insider.com Tournament.

Following a short Thanksgiving break, Hofstra will head south to oppose Atlantic 10-member George Washington University on Nov. 24. The Pride will be playing GW for only the second time in school history and the first since the 1982-83 campaign.

After taking on SMU, Hofstra will then play two quality New  York City-based teams back-to-back. The Pride will look to atone for a road loss last year when they host Wagner on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. Four days later, the Pride will play LIU on the road. Hofstra enjoyed one of its most impressive wins of the season last year against the Blackbirds when the Pride capped a 89-71 win against a LIU team that finished 25-9 and captured a second straight NEC title.

Hofstra will welcome Wright State to the Mack Sports Complex on Dec. 15 in a rematch of the 2011 Bracket Buster game. The Pride will then cap the non-conference part of the 2012-13 schedule on New Year's Day with a road game at Florida Atlantic.

The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) portion of the schedule will be released at a later date.

NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE GUIDE:


Monmouth University (11/9): Finished 12-20 in 2011-12
Head Coach: King Rice; second season
What to watch for: Under former UNC point guard Rice, Monmouth posted a three-win improvement and will be looking to next the step as a program. Hofstra has not won in the series the 1983-84 season. With so many changes to Hofstra's roster, the Pride will be looking for a fast start to build confidence while also seeking a third consecutive season-opening victory.

Manhattan College (11/21): Finished 21-13 in 2011-12; advanced to second round of College Insider.com Tournament
Head Coach: Steve Masiello; second season
What to watch for: Manhattan underwent an impressive transformation last year. In Masiello's first season, the Jaspers went from a six-win team to a 21-13 postseason squad, qualifying for the CIT and advancing to the second round. Hofstra will be looking to extract revenge for a home loss to the Jaspers last season but has won the last two times playing at Draddy Gymnasium.

George Washington University (11/24): Finished 10-21 in 2011-12
Head Coach:
Mike Lonergan; second season
What to watch for: George Washington is a work in progress playing in the competitive Atlantic 10 conference. Like Hofstra's first two opponents, the Colonials are entering just the second year under its current head coach. Lonergan will be looking to lead George Washington to greater heights this season, recruiting freshman guard-and PARADE All-American-Joe McDonald to enter the program.  The matchup could feature intriguing competition at the guard position as Hofstra will look towards Stevie Mejia and Taran Buie to oppose McDonald the rest of GW's backcourt.

Southern Methodist University (12/1): Finished 13-19 in 2011-12
Head Coach: Larry Brown, first season
What to watch for: Cassara has matched wits with many formidable coaches in his first two seasons at the Hofstra helm, but none come as accomplished as Brown. A 2002 Hall of Fame inductee, Brown is the only coach to win both a NCAA national championship and a NBA title. The game will be the first time Hofstra and SMU have played each other.


Wagner College (12/4): Finished 25-6 in 2011-12
Head Coach: Bashir Mason, first season
What to watch for: Mason takes over a talented Wagner team that is returning its top-two scorers from last season's 25-win team in Latif Rivers and Jonathon Williams. Hofstra struggled with shooting against the Seahawks on the road last season and will try and parlay playing on its home-court this year into better results. Hofstra still comfortably controls the all-time series against Wagner, carrying a 34-17 record against the Seahawks into the season.

Long Island University-Brooklyn (12/8): Finished 25-9 in 2011-12; advanced to the NCAA Tournament
Head Coach: Jack Perri, first season
What to watch for: Fresh off winning back-to-back NEC titles, LIU has a new head coach in Jack Perri after Jim Ferry left to take over at Duquesne. The Blackbirds are coming off another 20-win season and battled No. 1 seed Michigan State before losing in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Despite the impressive talent level of LIU, Hofstra enjoyed one of its most complete efforts of the season in defeating the Blackbirds by 18 points at home last season. With that loss fresh in LIU's mind, look for a hard-fought effort in the rematch as Hofstra will try and prove it can also beat a high-caliber opponent on the road as well.


Wright State University (12/15): Finished 13-19 in 2011-12
Head Coach: Billy Donlon, third season
What to watch for: The Pride had to wait a full season before getting another chance to play Wright State. The Raiders defeated Hofstra in the first-ever meeting between the schools in a 2011 Bracket Buster contest. This season, Wright State will make the trip to Hempstead. The Pride will be seeking to win against the Horizon League opponent and build momentum with the CAA schedule getting ready to commence.


Tulane University (12/22): Finished 15-16 in 2011-12
Head Coach: Ed Conroy; third season
What to watch for: On the surface, the biggest draw of the game is the big-name venue. But the sparkling arena on Atlantic Ave. is just the backdrop for a game against two teams looking to end the calendar year on a high note. Hofstra will play Tulane for the first time since the 1992-93 season. The Green Wave started hot last season before losing the final eight games.


Florida Atlantic University (1/1): Finished 11-19 in 2011-12
Head Coach: Mike Jarvis; fifth season
What to watch for: Besides the incentive of capping the out-of-conference schedule with a win to head into CAA play on a roll, the Pride will plenty of reasons to gear up for the New Year's Day clash at Florida Atlantic. FAU squeaked out a 62-60 victory on Hofstra's home court last season. The Pride made a shot at the buzzer that was waved off, giving the Owls a win for just the second time in seven all-time games.