BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer email@example.com
Cal State Bakersfield's men's and women's basketball schedules for the upcoming season were announced during Tuesday's Roadrunner Rundown web cast.
The 31-game men's schedule features 15 home games -- all at the on-campus Icardo Center.
An exhibition home game Nov. 8 vs. Whittier begins the season. The official opener is Nov. 14 when CSUB plays the first of three games in the Hawaii Rainbow Classic, against High Point (N.C.).
The official home opener is Nov. 23 vs. Delaware, a Sunday 4 p.m. game.
Fresno State will travel to CSUB on Dec. 6, in what could be CSUB's first home sellout in its Division I history. Other non-conference home opponents are South Dakota on Nov. 30, UC Riverside on Dec. 2, La Verne on Dec. 31 (a 2 p.m. game), San Diego Christian on Jan. 27 and Bristol University from Anaheim on Feb. 24.
Notable non-conference road games are at San Diego State on Nov. 20, three games at the Utah State tournament Dec. 18-20, and a game at Cal-Berkeley on Dec. 28.
The women's team has 16 home games, the most in CSUB's Division I history. The opener is a home game vs. Air Force on Friday, Nov. 14.
Both teams open Western Athletic Conference play on Jan. 10 against Grand Canyon, with the women at home and the men on the road.
All on Roadrunner Rundowns show host Corey Costelloe interviewed senior Megan Thompson and sophomore Ariana Mariscal from the women's cross country team, which opens its season Saturday at the Mark Covert Classic in Brea, a meet hosted by Cal State Fullerton.
The days of the CSUB men's basketball team playing home games at Rabobank Arena are over, at least for now.
All Roadrunner home games this season will be played at the 3,800-seat on-campus Icardo Center.
Since Rabobank Arena (originally called Centennial Garden) opened in the fall of 1998, CSUB played more than 90 percent of its home games downtown.
CSUB played only two games at Rabobank in 2011-12, Rod Barnes' first year as head coach. Four of 13 home games in 2012-13 were played at Rabobank, compared to virtually every game from the 1998-99 through the 2010-11 seasons
Last season, seven of CSUB's 14 home dates were played at Rabobank. The Roadrunners went 2-5 in those games.
The last time CSUB played its entire home schedule in the Icardo Center was the 1997-98 season.
Barnes said university officials are trying to bring more events -- athletics and other activities -- on campus.
"They're trying to bring things to make our campus a vibrant campus," Barnes said in an interview following his appearance on the Roadrunner Rundown webcast Tuesday morning. "Men's basketball needs to play our part in that."
The notion of moving all games to the Icardo Center was not a hard sell to Barnes. "We also felt that now that we're in conference play, we need more of a homecourt advantage," he said.
CSUB lists Rabobank Arena's capacity at 10,000 for basketball.
CSUB's largest Rabobank crowd last season was an announced 2,045 for the WAC opener vs. Utah Valley. But games vs. notable opponents New Mexico State and Santa Clara attracted only 838 and 820, respectively. The average attendance for the seven games was 1,263.
CSUB was unable to practice regularly at Rabobank, which was another obstacle, Barnes said.
"If you look at our schedule from last year, there were times we'd go on the road and play two games and we'd come back and we couldn't get into the Rabo," Barnes said. "That's just part of business.
"And all of a sudden we're playing in a place we hadn't practiced in and it's tough to do that."
Barnes noted the upcoming opening of new student housing on campus means more residents who can attend games more easily in the Icardo Center.
"We're trying to move our campus to be more community- and student- friendly," he said. "Why would you take one of your events, not that we're the only event but one of the main events, and not have that?"
Barnes said CSUB will likely use Rabobank Arena again in the future "because it's a great venue."
"But this (all games at Icardo) is an advantage to our players. We want to give the very best opportunity for our students to be successful. This helps us."
See page 35 for the complete men's and women's basketball schedules.
Women's soccer started CSUB's fall athletic season last weekend with a 2-1 overtime loss to Gonzaga and a 3-0 loss to Eastern Washington.
Men's soccer, volleyball and cross country open this weekend.
Men's soccer plays at San Diego State on Friday. Volleyball is at the Sam Houston tournament in Huntsville, Texas, to face Mississippi State on Friday and then Louisiana-Monroe and Sam Houston State on Saturday.
Cross country is at the Mark Covert Classic 5-kilometer run in Brea on Saturday.