Relying on the strength of seven sophomores, Northeastern A&M's Golden Norseman basketball team faces the rigors of a 30-game schedule.
“I think having so much experience coming back will help us early on,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “We're playing 14 games in 35 days, so with that many sophomores they will be able to adjust from game to game.”
In Grover's second season as head coach, the Golden Norsemen were 16-15, winning the Bi-State Athletic Conference Eastern Division with a 6-2 mark.
“Last year we had so many freshmen, that they were constantly searching for some consistency,” Grover said. “This year we should have a lot of continuity going into the start of the season.”
After opening the season by hosting the Oklahoma Baptist University JV at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5, the Golden Norse entertains No. 11 Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College at 8 p.m. the next night.
“We don't have an easy non-conference schedule,” Grover said. “Coffeyville, West Plains (Mo.) and Redlands will all be in the NJCAA top 20 preseason. Then, you throw in defending Region II champion Seminole and Northern-Enid and things could get pretty rough.”
"Right there you've got eight games in the first half that are pretty tough," Grover said. "With as many sophomores that we have, we want to come out and compete from the first game. We need to win games early to gain enough confidence going into divisional play."
Since the July 4 flood destroyed the NEO Fieldhouse, all of the Golden Norse games will be played in the Student Activities Center. The Golden Norsemen have only four home games before the Christmas break.
After hosting OBU and Coffeyville, the Norsemen travel to West Plains, Mo., Nov 8-10 for a classic before visiting Coffeyville on Nov. 13 and Mid-America Christian on Nov. 17.
NEO entertains Seminole State College on Nov. 19 before a trip to Northern Oklahoma-Enid on Nov. 26. The Norsemen return home Nov. 28 to host Redlands College.
Games in the Eastern Division of the Bi-State start on Jan. 28 as the Golden Norsemen host Carl Albert State College.