While the tournament begins Friday, Upstate will not start play until Saturday when it faces off against Maine in the season opener at 2:00 p.m., then battles UMKC at 4:00 p.m. The Spartans will wrap-up the tournament on Sunday, taking on N.C. Central at 12 noon and Western Carolina at 2:00 p.m.
Upstate is coming off a 39-13 season in 2012, playing with as many as seven freshmen in the lineup at one time and regularly playing five newcomers in the lineup. The young squad from a year ago is now battle-tested and head coach Chris Hawkins has a veteran team to put on the field in 2013. Add in a couple of junior college transfers who were standouts for the College of Siskiyous in California as well as a solid freshman class, and the Spartans look to battle at the top of the A-Sun standings again this season. Upstate finished third in the league last season and has been picked to finish third again this year.
The Subway Upstate Classic will serve as the season openers for all five teams in the tournament. Maine was 17-30-1 last year, UMKC was 27-30, N.C. Central was 4-45 and Western Carolina turned in a 24-34 record.
Upstate has won 122 games in the last three seasons, claiming a Division I-era school record 42 wins in 2011, 41 wins in 2010 and 39 a year ago. The Spartans have reached the 30-win plateau in eight of the last nine seasons and 40 wins in five of the last eight years.
Fans can follow the action online throughout the weekend at upstatespartans.com. Live stats for all games of the tournament and live video through ASun.TV for games involving Upstate's will be available for free.
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