Monday, August 15, 2011

Norfolk State releases 2011-12 schedule

Two days after we scraped together whatever bits and pieces of Virginia schools' 2011-12 schedules we could find, Norfolk State gives us something to really chew on - the Spartans' full 28-game slate of non-conference and MEAC contests, plus one exhibition at Elizabeth City State.

After playing on the road in three of their first four games, the Spartans will have four straight and five of their next six at Echols Arena, a rare home stretch for a team that has typically spent most Novembers and Decembers checking baggage.

“We wanted to be at home as much as possible,” NSU coach Debra Clark said. “And with some of these being return games, it will put us at a very good comfort level, both playing at home and against familiar opponents, as we get going early on in our season.” 

The slate is also highlighted by six non-conference games against in-state foes - home games against Virginia Union, William and Mary, Radford and George Mason and road matchups at VCU and Longwood.

Regardless of what happens in non-conference, however, the key for NSU will be ready to really bring it once MEAC play commences. Last season, the Spartans surprised many by winning six of their first 10 games, including a 75-70 overtime triumph over a McNeese State team that went 26-7, won the Southland Conference tournament and reached the NCAAs for the first time in program history. But the Spartans were just 3-15 the rest of the way as NSU's youthful roster appeared to hit a collective wall midway through conference play.

Here's hoping the Spartans took their offseason workouts seriously and are prepared physically and mentally for the full grind. Because while nothing is a given, this schedule sets them up with several opportunities for success in and out of conference play.

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