Over the past couple years, Lehigh men’s basketball has consistently matched up against top-tier Division I level programs to begin its season. The Mountain Hawks have competed against the likes of University of Virginia, Villanova University, Syracuse University and many other teams who are NCAA Tournament-worthy.
This year, the trend will continue.
Coach Brett Reed released the 2016-17 schedule Monday afternoon. The non-conference schedule is highlighted by the first game of the year on Nov. 11. Lehigh will christen the season by traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio, to take on Xavier University.
Xavier is fresh off a year where the Musketeers finished 28-6 and were selected as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. This is also a notable matchup because it’s the first time Lehigh has faced Xavier since 2012 in the NCAA Tournament, a game that resulted in a 70-58 Xavier victory. Xavier is expected to start the season in the top 25 of the NCAA rankings.
For the second straight year, the Mountain Hawks will take on defending Ivy League champ and 2016 March Madness cinderella Yale University on Nov. 17. In addition, Lehigh will battle Mississippi State University, Princeton University, La Salle University, and Arkansas State University, which is expected to be junior point guard Kahron Ross’ homecoming game.
Seven of the first 11 non-conference games are on the road. Lehigh will face three teams that were a part of the 2015-16 non-conference schedule: Robert Morris University, Stony Brook University, and Saint Francis University (Pa.).
As for the Patriot League portion of the schedule, Lehigh will start off conference play with two road games against Army West Point and Boston University starting on Dec. 30. The most anticipated matchup will come on Jan. 14 when the Mountain Hawks host the defending Patriot League champions Holy Cross. It will mark the first matchup since the Crusaders stunned Lehigh in Stabler Arena last spring to claim the Patriot League title and advance the NCAA Tournament.
The second matchup is scheduled for Feb. 11. The Hawks will also face rival Lafayette College home Jan. 21 and away on Feb. 18. Lehigh will close out the regular season Feb. 25 with the second matchup against Army. Last season, the Mountain Hawks defeated every Patriot League team at least once.
The Patriot League Tournament is slated to begin on Feb 28. and conclude March 8.
After a 13-5 mark in the Patriot League and an appearance in the Patriot League Championship, the Hawks will look to build off the 2015-16 campaign and compete for another shot at the Patriot League title.