NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team released its full schedule for the 2022-23 season on Monday afternoon. The challenging slate includes three opponents ranked in the final Coaches Poll of the 2021-22 season: No. 7 Houston, No. 9 Baylor, and No. 11 UCLA.
“If we are fortunate enough to get back to the NCAA Tournament, we want a solid strength of schedule,” Spartans head coach Robert Jones said. “Playing against three preseason top-10 programs will have us battle-tested against any other opponent we face this year. These teams are perennial NCAA and Final Four participants.”
NSU will open the season with two unfamiliar opponents at Echols Hall. The Spartans host Virginia Lynchburg at 7pm Nov. 9, followed by Cairn on Nov. 11, both being the first meetings between the schools in program history.
In a rematch between a pair of green-and-gold foes, NSU will play at Baylor on Nov. 11. The teams clashed in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, with the Bears coming out victorious. The Spartans will have little time to regroup, traveling to California for a showdown at UCLA on Nov. 14, their first-ever meeting with the Bruins.
After battling those two heavyweights, NSU will play at Monmouth on Nov. 17, before facing Alabama A&M on Dec. 18 at the ATL Has Something to Say HBCU Challenge in Atlanta, Ga.
The Spartans finally return to Echols for the first time in over two weeks to host St. Mary’s on Nov. 22, two days prior to Thanksgiving. NSU heads to H-town on Nov. 29 for its first-ever matchup with Houston.
A pair of in-state road games await the Spartans to start December: at Old Dominion on Dec. 3 and at William & Mary on Dec. 10. It will be the first matchup between NSU and its cross-town rival ODU since the 2020-21 season, and the first at Chartway Arena since 2015-16.
The Spartans host Bowling Green on Dec. 14 before heading to Las Vegas for the Boost Mobile HBCU Challenge. The Spartans will open the event on Dec. 17 against Hampton before facing North Carolina A&T the next day.
NSU won’t leave the Silver State just yet though. The Spartans have a meeting with the University of Nevada slotted for Dec. 21, before coming home and ending the main stretch of nonconference play against Penn State Wilkes-Barre on Jan. 4.
Norfolk State will begin their quest for a third consecutive MEAC championship with its conference opener against Maryland Eastern Shore at Echols Hall on Jan. 7. NSU will play each MEAC opponent twice – once at home and once away – culminating in a regular-season finale at Howard.
“Our MEAC slate will be extremely challenging as every single program in the MEAC has upgraded their rosters,” Jones said. “I look forward to a battle game in and game out.”
During a gap in the conference schedule, NSU will meet Hampton again, this time in Newark, N.J. for the four-team 2023 Legacy Classic. It will also be the 140th edition of the famed “Battle of the Bay” rivalry.