Wright State to kick off season with visit from Davidson

FAIRBORN — Wright State coach Scott Nagy always wants a non-conference schedule that will get his team ready for the rigors of Horizon League play, and the 11-game lineup released by the school Wednesday looks challenging enough to accomplish that task.

It wasn’t easy, though. The Raiders have had plenty of success in six years under Nagy, and assistants Clint Sargent and Dan Beré had to work the phones like telemarketers to finding willing opponents.

“It’s so difficult to do,” Nagy said of putting a schedule together. “If you’ve had any success at our level, even getting teams to call back is sometimes impossible.

“It’s hard to find anybody who will play you, so you end up playing teams nobody wants to play, either.”

The Raiders open the season at home against Atlantic 10 regular-season champ Davidson on Wednesday, Nov. 9, and will finish their first week by visiting Louisville and then hosting Bowling Green.

They’ll also play Nov. 21-23 in the Vegas Classic against fellow mid-majors Abilene Christian, UC Riverside and Weber State.

They’ll travel to Western Kentucky, Akron and rival Miami.

Their other home games are against Defiance and Northwest Ohio.

“For us to have an A-10 team come in here and play is a good ‘get’ for us,” Nagy said. “But, obviously, it’ll be a hard game to win.”

Davidson reached the NCAA tourney last season and put a scare into Michigan State before losing 74-73.

Louisville went through some turmoil with the January firing of coach Chris Mack, but they have the sixth-most NCAA tourney appearances of all time.

Akron won the MAC tourney title last season and finished 24-10, losing to UCLA in an NCAA first-round game, 57-53. Western Kentucky went 19-13, Bowling Green 13-18 and Miami 14-18.

The Vegas opponents are coming off successful seasons. Abilene Christian went 25-11, finished runner-up in the WAC tournament and won two games in the College Basketball Invitational.

Weber State finished 21-12 and UC Riverside 16-12.

The Raiders are always looking for home-and-home arrangements, and they pulled it off with Davidson, Western Kentucky and Miami. They’re halfway through two-game series with Akron and Bowling Green.

“Davidson was the game we were waiting for (to finish the schedule),” Nagy said. “We had plenty of teams that are willing to play us where we go there first, and we couldn’t do that — not when we’re already going to Louisville and Akron and Miami and Western Kentucky.

“We had to get some home games. That eliminates a lot of people right there because everybody likes to do a home-and-home and start it at home. To get a team like Davidson, they probably had enough home games and needed a road game.”

The Raiders took a hit when star players Tanner Holden and Grant Basile transferred, but they return three starters and landed former Trotwood-Madison standout Amari Davis, who was an all-league player at Green Bay.

The Raiders went 22-14 last season and won an NCAA tourney game for the first time, knocking off Bryant in the First Four before falling to No. 1 seed Arizona.

Season tickets cost $125 for seats in the upper corners of the Nutter Center and $500 for the first six rows. They can be purchased by calling the ticket office at (937) 775-4936 or going to WSURaiders.com.

Several other buying options are available. Single-game tickets go on sale at a later date.

The Raider women’s team opens on the road against Toledo on Nov. 7 and will visit two foes that reached the NCAA Sweet 16 last season, Ohio State and Tennessee. The home opener is Nov. 17 against Ohio Christian.

Second-year coach Kari Hoffman revamped her roster after going 4-23, bringing in 12 new players.

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