James Madison freshman Michael Christmas dunks during a game this past season at the Convocation Center in Harrisonburg. JMU is scheduled to play three Power 5 conference opponents in 2020-21 season.

James Madison announced its 2020-21 non-conference schedule for men’s basketball on Monday highlighted by games against Virginia, Georgia Tech and Florida.

The Dukes will open up both the Mark Byington era and the debut season at the new Atlantic Union Bank Center on Nov. 4 with an exhibition game against Bridgewater College. The regular season debut of the new JMU coach is set for Nov. 11 at home against Maryland Eastern Shore. The Dukes play host to 2019 NCAA champion Virginia on No. 19, one of five non-conference home games against in-state foes.

JMU faced tough road schedules each of the past two seasons, including back-to-back trips to rivals George Mason and Old Dominion. That allowed the Dukes to load up the first season in the new 8,500-seat Atlantic Union Bank Center with intriguing home matchups.

The Patriots are scheduled to visit Harrisonburg on Nov. 30 with ODU coming to town on Dec. 7. In addition the Dukes will play home games against Longwood (Nov. 14), Mount St. Mary’s (Nov. 22), Bryn Athyn (Nov. 24), Radford (Nov. 27), Fordham (Dec. 3) and Clarks Summit (Dec. 10).

JMU will hit the road to play at Georgia Tech on Nov. 16, and wrap up non-conference play with games at East Carolina on Dec. 19 and a trip to Gainesville to take on Florida on Dec. 22.

It will mark the first time JMU has played more than one opponent from a Power 5 conference since 2014-15 when the Dukes opened the season at home against Virginia and later traveled to Ohio State. The last time JMU played three such opponents in a single season was 2004-05 when the Dukes played three straight games against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and West Virginia.

In addition to the new coaching staff, the Dukes brought in eight new players. Senior guard Matt Lewis, who averaged 19.5 points per game last season, entered his name in the NBA Draft, but is expected to return to lead the new-look squad.

Contact Shane Mettlen at 574-6244 or smettlen@dnronline.com. Follow Shane on Twitter: @Shane_DNRSports

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