The very public restructuring of Long Beach State men’s basketball coach Dan Monson’s contract included a shift in scheduling philosophy, and the 2018-19 schedule released Tuesday reflects that with it’s lack of long road trips against Power 5 conference opponents.
“We are still playing a national schedule, but have focused on having more games against schools from the Pac-12, Mountain West and West Coast conferences to give our fans more opportunities to come see us play and show their support,” Monson said in an official statement. “We think this is a more balanced schedule.”
LBSU only has five games outside of California, and 21 of the 32 games are in Southern California. The Big West conference game at Hawaii (Jan. 31) and the MGM Resorts Main Event tournament games at Arizona State (Nov. 12), at Mississippi State (Nov. 16) and in Las Vegas (Nov. 19/21) are the only out-of-state contests.
The season opens at UCLA (Nov. 9) and LBSU will host Homecoming festivities the next day at Walter Pyramid (Nov. 10) against Menlo College. The marquee nonconference home games are Oregon State (Nov. 25), Pepperdine (Dec. 20) and Colorado State (Dec. 22).
Big West play begins at home for LBSU against defending regular season champions UC Davis (Jan. 12). The Beach will also welcome Cal State Fullerton (Jan. 19) and UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 26) in early conference challenges at Walter Pyramid. The regular season finale is against UC Riverside (Mar. 6), and the Big West Conference Tournament is back at Honda Center (Mar. 14-16).
“(This schedule) will prepare us for Big West play and put us in the best position to compete for a championship,” Monson said.
LBSU has reached the Big West championship game once since winning it in 2012— the only NCAA Tournament trip under Monson. The 49ers are 5-6 in the conference tournament during that stretch with five semifinal appearances. Seven different Big West schools have won the title since 2012.