In North Carolina, college basketball is king.
It’s the land of Michael Jordan, the Atlantic Coast Conference, and bitter rivalries.
An environment like this one isn’t always welcoming to newcomers. It can be difficult for up-and-coming basketball programs to find success, gain recognition, and generate excitement.
That’s why the emergence of UNCG men’s basketball – in North Carolina and nationally – is so significant.
UNCG has advanced to the Southern Conference Tournament title game for three straight years. Last year, the team notched a program-record 29 victories. Despite missing out on the Big Dance, UNCG earned the No. 1 overall seed in the National Invitation Tournament and won its first-ever NIT game against Campbell.
UNCG’s Isaiah Miller made SportsCenter’s Top 10 twice last season (and already once this fall). In the spring, Spartan hoops even caught the attention of The New York Times.
Head Coach Wes Miller and his team have embraced the spotlight. And, in doing so, UNCG has scheduled stiff non-conference competition for this season. It’s a schedule that will help the Spartans grow as a team – and prove why UNCG belongs in the national conversation about the best of college hoops.
Earlier this month, UNCG faced off against No. 3 Kansas in a nationally televised contest in historic Allen Fieldhouse. The Spartans led at several points during the first half, although they came up short – by just 12 points – in the end.
This weekend, the team travels to Washington, D.C., to take on Georgetown. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. on Saturday, and the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2.
On Dec. 15, ACC foe NC State will visit the Greensboro Coliseum in a highly anticipated match-up. The Spartans defeated the Wolfpack in Raleigh in 2017.
A few days later, on Dec. 18, UNCG will travel to Vermont, the reigning American East Conference champions.
“This is the most difficult schedule we’ve had in the last 4-5 years,” said Miller. “The toughness of this group will be tested early, and I think that could be good for us in January.”
The coming weeks will certainly represent a challenge for the Spartans.
But more than anything, it’s an opportunity for men’s basketball to showcase tenacity, excellence, and talent – on a national stage.
To follow UNCG men’s basketball and to purchase tickets, visit uncgspartans.com.
Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Communications