CSUN Men’s Basketball head coach Reggie Theus has unveiled the Matadors’ 2017-18 schedule consisting of contests against seven teams that advanced to national postseason tournaments last season.
The Matadors will also take part in the 2017 Cancun Challenge, playing twice in Mexico during Thanksgiving week. Among the 29 regular season games, CSUN will face 20 teams representing nine conferences including seven squads that won 20 or more games last season.
“We try every season to put together a schedule that will help prepare us for the Big West Conference,” Theus said. “This year’s schedule is very competitive. We have a young team this season, and I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for us to compete and have a chance to have a good record heading into conference play.”
The Matadors kick off the regular season on Friday, Nov. 10, hosting NAIA team Life Pacific on The Blacktop @ The Matadome. In the opening month of the season, the Matadors will participate in the Cancun Challenge with the first two games played in the United States against teams placed in the Riviera Division.
CSUN travels to Fresno State on Monday, Nov. 13 to kick off the Cancun Challenge followed by its first ever meeting with George Mason in Fairfax, VA on Nov. 18. A season ago, Fresno State advanced to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) while George Mason competed in the College Basketball Invitational.
Placed in the Mayan Division, the Matadors will travel to Cancun to take on Southeast Missouri State for the first time ever on Tuesday, Nov. 21. A day later, CSUN will conclude the tournament by either taking on Binghamton or Montana State. On Nov. 28, CSUN faces a California team that earned a No. 1 seed in last year’s NIT.
The Matadors square off with Montana on Dec. 3 followed by the first of two meetings with Idaho State (Dec. 6). CSUN finally returns home on Dec. 9 to host Loyola Marymount before returning to the road to take on Eastern Washington (Dec. 17) and Sacramento State (Dec. 19). Last season, Eastern Washington advanced to the CBI for the second-straight season.
On Dec. 23, CSUN meets Idaho State at home to conclude a home-and-home series. Non-conference play comes to a close on Dec. 30 as the Matadors square off with visiting Morgan State.
CSUN rings in the New Year by hosting Hawai’i to kick off Big West play on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. From there, the Matadors visit Long Beach State on Jan. 10 before meeting Big West regular season champion UC Irvine at The Matadome (Jan. 13). CSUN visits UC Riverside (Jan. 17) and hosts Cal Poly (Jan. 20) before visiting reigning Big West Tournament Champion UC Davis on Jan. 25.
After hosting Long Beach State (Jan. 27) and UC Davis (Feb. 1), the Matadors open up a three-game road trip with stops at UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 3), UC Irvine (Feb. 7) and Hawai’i (Feb. 10). Also in February, the Matadors host UC Riverside (Feb. 14) and travel to Cal State Fullerton (Feb. 17) and Cal Poly (Feb. 22).
The final two games of the regular season will take place inside The Matadome against UC Santa Barbara (Feb. 24) and Cal Sate Fullerton (Feb. 28). The Big West Conference Tournament is set for March 8-10 at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
Among the returning group, senior forward Tavrion Dawson finished fourth in the Big West in rebounds per game (6.9) and ninth in scoring (14.1) last season. Dawson also posted career highs in a number of categories including points, rebounds, assists (1.6), steals (1.6), field goal percentage (52.1) and free throw percentage (77.0) en route to earning a Big West Honorable Mention.
Fellow senior Micheal Warren converted on 45.5 percent of his 3-point shots last season and registered 7.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals.
Rounding out the senior class, Reggie Theus Jr. averaged 3.0 points and 1.1 rebounds over 12.3 minutes per game in his first season with the Matadors in 2016-17.
This year’s group also features freshmen Terrell Gomez, Jalon Pipkins, Lamine Diane and Jared Pearre along with junior college transfers Zeno Lake and Carl Brown. Sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, sophomore guard Lyrik Shreiner and junior forward Anthony Swan join the Matadors on the court for their first time this season.
Entering his fifth season as the team’s head coach, Theus led the Matadors to the Big West Conference Tournament last season. CSUN also won its most road games in six seasons and posted season sweeps of Long Beach State, UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara as well as its first road win in Long Beach since 2008.
View the complete schedule here.