CCU's new basketball home not ready for start of next season

Coastal Carolina's new student recreation and convocation center will not be open in time for the start of the 2011/12 basketball season. CCU Athletic Director Hunter Yuarchek made the announcement in a press release on Coastal Carolina's website:

CCU Press Release: Update on Student Recreation and Convocation Center

The new 3,200 seat facility will be home to CCU's mens and womens basketball team as well as the volleyball program. Ryan Young of the Myrtle Beach Sun News talked more with Yurachek about a timetable for the opening and if LSU (CCU's scheduled home opener) will drop the Chants from their schedule:

Sun News: CCU arena opening on hold

WPDE Sports Director Rich Chrampanis is the host of the Cliff Ellis Show and offers his take on the delayed opening:

Will LSU back out?

LSU was 11-21 last year, 3-13 in the SEC which puts 4th year coach Trent Johnson in hot water. After losing to Coastal last year (December 13th, 2010 : CCU upsets LSU in OT), a return trip for an SEC team to tiny Kimbel Arena would be viewed as an unnecessary trap game and an easy decision of ripping up the contract and dropping Coastal from its slate. However, LSU will be playing in the Charleston Classic on November 17th, the same eight team tourney that the Chanticleers played in last year:

Baton Rouge Advocate: A sneak peak at LSU's 2011/12 schedule

The fact that they are playing in the Palmetto state just two days earlier makes it more than optimistic that Coastal will stay on the schedule and LSU will go from the 13,742 seat Maravich Center to 1,032 strong at Kimbel Arena.

The Big Decision

Will the new convocation center be done at some point during next basketball season? I think the answer is yes. The big decision that needs to be made is to decide if it's worthwhile for the Chanticleers to switch gears in the middle of a season.

I spoke with Sam McLaurin about when he thought the new basketball home may open and he was hopeful that the team could get in there sometime in December so the team can get a few non-conference games under its belt to get ready for Big South play. McLaurin says if the building isn't ready until January or beyond, it will be like a neutral court for CCU while it is playing critical conference games.

It would not surprise me at all if Coastal makes the decision to play all of next season in Kimbel Arena and regroup and debut it for the start of the 2012/13 season. As antiquated and embarassing as Kimbel Arena is as a Division I facility, the CCU basketball team is comfortable there and plays very well there (32-5 over the last two years). If Coastal can get into its new home sometime in December, then it would make sense to play the first Big South home game there and lock the doors on Kimbel forever.