BARBOURVILLE — Union men’s basketball coach Kevin Burton has announced the Bulldogs’ 2015-16 schedule; which features 12 home dates, two tournaments and an exhibition matchup with a NCAA Division I opponent.
Union is coming off the most successful season in program history in which they finished ranked 11th in the final NAIA Division II Coaches’ Poll. In 2014-15, the Bulldogs posted a program-best record of 30-5, won Appalachian Athletic Conference Regular Season and Tournament Championships for the second season in a row while accomplishing something no Union basketball team has done at the national level.
At the NAIA Division II National Championships, the Bulldogs defeated Northwestern Ohio 64-58, for the first win program history on the national stage. In the Round of 16, Union bowed out of the tournament to eventual National Semifinalist Embry-Riddle (Florida), 89-75, completing the historic campaign.
The Bulldogs will look to build off of last season’s successful campaign as they open the 2015-16 season with Boyce on Oct. 27. The action is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off inside Robsion Arena.
The home contest is one of only three games Union will host during the first two months of the season. Union will travel to Marion, Indiana, Nov. 6-7, to participate in the Caleb Dimmich Memorial Classic. In the classic, the Bulldogs will face Indiana Wesleyan and IU-East, both teams finished ranked in last season’s coaches’ poll.
One matchup that highlights the Bulldogs schedule is Nov. 8, as they travel to NCAA Division I Eastern Kentucky for an exhibition contest. This is the first matchup against an NCAA Division I opponent since 2009, when Union faced off against Tennessee Tech.
Union will close out the month of November with two AAC road contests and the first annual NAIA Men’s Basketball DII Showcase “The Show.” In AAC play, Union will travel to Bryan (Tennessee) on Nov. 18 and Montreat (North Carolina) on Nov. 24. “The Show” will run Nov. 28-29 at the Marriott MeadowView Convention Center in Kingsport, Tennessee. The Bulldogs will play Cincinnati Christian (Ohio) on the 28th and Davenport (Michigan) the 29th.
To start December, Union will host their first AAC contests at Robsion Arena against Truett-McConnell (Georgia) on Dec. 2 and St. Andrews (North Carolina) on Dec. 5. The Bulldogs will close out the 2015 portion of their schedule with a road game at Berea on Dec. 13.
After holiday break, Union leaps back into AAC play, hitting the road once again to take on Milligan (Tennessee) on Jan. 2. After the Milligan game, Union will only have to leave Robsion Arena three times in January. They will host Tennessee Wesleyan (Jan. 4), Bluefield (Virginia) (Jan. 9), Bryan (Jan. 20), Point (Georgia) (Jan. 23) and Montreat (Jan. 30).
The final month of the season will only see two home games for the Bulldogs, as they host Milligan Feb. 6 and Reinhardt (Georgia) Feb. 17.
The 2016 AAC Tournament will once again be played at the Marriott MeadowView Convention Center and begin on Feb. 25.