By Josh Veltrie
Tommy Dempsey, the head coach for the men’s basketball team, believes in challenging his team to prepare them for conference play. Dempsey’s way of challenging his team the past two seasons has been scheduling very tough non-conference games.
Last year, Rider knocked off a ranked team in Mississippi State, giving the Broncs a signature win that they have not had in recent years. They also played Kentucky, Virginia and Sam Houston State. It didn’t necessarily work out as planned last year, however, as the Broncs struggled early in conference play, but that was most likely because of chemistry issues and lack of defense, both of which Dempsey is putting an emphasis on this season.
Rider travels to California to take on USC tonight before going to Massachusetts to finish the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off to play TCU and Loyola Marymount this weekend.
The Broncs have already played UMass and had them on the ropes, up by 21 at halftime before having a huge letdown in the second half and letting UMass grab the win. The biggest of the test by far this year is on Dec. 4 when the Broncs travel to Pittsburgh to take on the #4 team in the nation.
If Rider can win two out of the four games against Pittsburgh, USC, TCU and Loyola Marymount, it would be a successful run. Beating the Panthers or Trojans would give the Broncs another huge signature win. Either way Dempsey is hoping this schedule will help Rider go into MAAC play with some momentum and confidence.