The Mercer men’s basketball team is preparing for another season and looking to get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013-14.
Before they can get there, the Bears will need to navigate a difficult schedule.
The schedule released Friday features 15 home games in Hawkins Arena as well as some tough road match ups out of conference against North Carolina State and Florida. Another key game will be against Harvard in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena.
Mercer opens the season on the road against the University of Alabama Birmingham on Nov. 6. The Bears will then return to Macon for the home opener against Piedmont College.
Other key out-of-conference match ups include a game on the road at Florida Atlantic on Dec. 5 before returning home for a game against Georgia Southern on Dec. 8. The Bears will then go back out on the road to take on the Gators in Gainesville on Dec. 16.
Mercer will open its Southern Conference schedule Dec. 1 on the road against the Citadel in Charleston. They will host the conference home opener on Jan. 10 against Western Carolina.
The Bears are coming off of a 19-15 season overall and 11-7 in SoCon play. Coach Bob Hoffman enters the season only two games shy of 200 wins at Mercer.
The Bears will have to replace a lot of key pieces from last year’s team including a trio of 1,000-point career scorers in Stephon Jelks, Jordan Strawberry and Demetre Rivers.
Mercer returns five players from last season, including junior guard Ross Cummings and a pair of seniors, forward Cory Kilby and guard Jaylen Stowe.