MITCHELL, S.D. – After finishing last season ranked No. 20 in the NAIA, the Dakota Wesleyan University men's basketball schedule has been released for the 2018-19 season, head men's basketball coach Matt Wilber announced Tuesday.
The season begins on the road for the Tigers as they travel to Bellevue University in Bellevue, Neb., for a 7 p.m. tip off. The Bruins finished last season ranked No. 23 in the nation with a 21-12 overall record, with an 11-4 record at home.
"Playing on the road in college basketball is so difficult and we have maybe our toughest opening to a season since I started here," Wilber said. "If we are going to be any good, I feel strongly about playing really good teams in the non-conference and we will have that this year."
One day after playing the Bruins, DWU travels to Vermillion, S.D., to take on NCAA Division I opponent the University of South Dakota. The Coyotes finished last season with a 26-9 record and trip to the Summit League Championship Game. USD played the University of North Texas in the College Basketball Invitational to conclude the season.
Following the trip to Vermillion, the Tigers head to Sioux Falls, S.D., to host the Sanford Pentagon Classic. On Nov. 3, the Tigers take on in-state rival Dakota State University at 8 p.m. and battle Presentation College at 4 p.m. on Nov. 4. Last season the Tigers defeated DSU 94-69 and downed Presentation by a score of 86-69.
"We have again put together a difficult and challenging schedule for our team starting with our season opener on the road at Bellevue," Wilber said. "Our conference schedule will again be extremely tough up and down the conference at home and especially on the road. Playing the NAIA Classic again in the Pentagon and an exhibition down at USD will be early season highlights for our guys."
The Great Plains Athletic Conference season begins on the road as DWU travels to Orange City, Iowa to take on Northwestern College on Nov. 7. Three days later the Tigers take on Midland University in Fremont, Neb.
The first home game for the Tigers will take place on Nov. 12 as DWU hosts Sisseton Wahpeton College at 7 p.m. on Monday Nov. 12. The matchup begins a four-game homestand for the Tigers as they host Dordt College on Nov. 14, Hastings College on Nov. 17 and the University of Jamestown on Nov. 20.
DWU will head to Las Vegas for two games in December to take part in the Trip Sports Las Vegas Hoopla. On Dec. 19, the Tigers take on California Miramar University, while they will battle the University of Antelope Valley on Dec. 20. Both games begin at 6 p.m. central time. CMU is part of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. Antelope Valley is a member of the NAIA and a member of the California Pacific Conference.
"Our goal is to take a trip every year with our guys," Wilber stated. "Obviously fundraising plays a big part in being able to provide opportunities like that for our players, and they have always done a great job in that area and our community has supported a couple of specific events that we run to make trips like this possible. When you look back on your athletic career, players remember those times as much as anything. We have always looked at our trips as a business trip first and we will be challenged on the court with national tournament level teams."
Coming home after the trip to Las Vegas, the Tigers will host the Hoop City Classic on Dec. 29 against Peru State and Dec. 30 against St. Mary at the Corn Palace.
The Tigers will host four games throughout January as they face the 2017-18 Great Plains Athletic Conference champions Morningside College at 8 p.m. on Jan. 2. DWU returns home to battle Midland University on Jan. 13 and squares off against GPAC rival Northwestern College at 8 p.m. on Jan. 16.
DWU plays its last road game with a road trip to Valley City, N.D., for a non-conference battle against North Star Athletic Association member Valley City State University on Feb. 13. The Tigers conclude the regular season with a home bout against Doane University at 4 p.m. on Feb. 16.