By Brandon Scalea
Two Big East powerhouses and an emerging Big Ten squad highlight the non-conference schedule for the 2017-18 men’s basketball team, a source close to the team confirmed.
Rider will play at Xavier, a team that went all the way to the Elite Eight of last year’s NCAA Tournament. Two weeks later, the Broncs will play Providence, another tournament qualifier, for the second time in three years.
Those two challenging road games will be on Nov. 13 and Nov. 29, respectively.
Three days before Christmas, the Broncs will head to Happy Valley for a game against Penn State, a team that has been on the rise the last two seasons.
Rider, which finished fifth in the MAAC last season before falling to eventual champion Iona in the conference tournament, will open its season at home against Hampton. The game will be on Nov. 10 at 8 p.m.
The season opener is the second game of a home-and-home series with the Pirates, who the Broncs defeated 67-56 on opening day last year.
After the game in Cincinnati against Xavier, Rider returns home on Nov. 15 to play Hartford. The Broncs beat the Hawks by double digits last year, and in double overtime in 2015-16.
Rider then travels down to the nation’s capital for a Nov. 20 matchup with George Washington, a team that will be two seasons removed from a National Invitation Tournament championship. The Colonials play in the Atlantic 10 conference.
The Broncs’ annual regular season tournament will be the Las Vegas Classic this year, where they will play at least two games from Nov. 23 to Nov. 24. The eight-team tournament consists of high- and mid-major teams.
Rounding off the non-conference schedule are two games against teams Rider beat last year: Wagner and Drexel. The Broncs play at the Dragons on Dec. 2 and host the Seahawks on Dec. 16.
Rider’s full schedule including MAAC play should be made available sometime in August.
Full non-conference schedule
Oct. 28 — at Lafayette (Exhibition)
Nov. 4 — Exhibition game, opponent TBD
Nov. 10 — vs. Hampton
Nov. 13 — at Xavier
Nov. 15 — vs. Hartford
Nov. 20 — at George Washington
Nov. 23 — Las Vegas Classic Game 1
Nov. 24 — Las Vegas Classic Game 2
Nov. 29 — at Providence
Dec. 2 — at Drexel
Dec. 6 — at Robert Morris
Dec. 9 — vs. Hofstra
Dec. 16 — vs. Wagner
Dec. 22 — at Penn State