Charlotte and Davidson men's basketball teams likely won't play this season, interrupting a 29-year annual rivalry, the Observer has learned.
The two Mecklenburg County schools were expected to play at Davidson's Belk Arena, but officials from the schools gave conflicting reasons why the game likely won't be played.
Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said the schools initially agreed to play about Dec.10, but Davidson is scheduled to play in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec.9 against West Virginia.
He said the Wildcats then offered to play Charlotte in the first few days of December, but Charlotte would be finishing up play in the Anaheim Classic.
“We can't do that,” Lutz said. “We would be playing five away games in 10 days.”
Davidson officials also said they tried to move the game to Dec.13, but Charlotte had scheduled a game against Winthrop. Winthrop coach Randy Peele said he has not had serious discussions about changing the date, and said it would be too late to change it now.
Charlotte and Winthrop did discuss moving to Dec.9, but that date was not available because it falls during Winthrop's exam period.
Davidson – coming off an NCAA tournament Elite 8 appearance – is committed to play in the Preseason NIT, the Wooden Classic, and the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. Charlotte, which won 20 games last season, has games against Clemson and Maryland.
Officials from both schools said they tried to schedule the game in January or February, but Davidson's 20-game conference schedule and other issues would not allow that to happen.
“I'm disappointed obviously,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “It has been a great series for Davidson and a great series for the city of Charlotte.
“It's particularly disappointing because we lose a home game.”
The schools have met 36 times, and Charlotte leads the all-time series 26-10. The winner is awarded the Hornet's Nest Trophy. Last season, the 49ers defeated Davidson 75-68.
“If this basketball game is as important to the community as the Charlotte community has shown it is, and as important to the coaches as they have said it was, its scheduling should be taken out of the hands of the basketball coaches and put in the hands of the schools' respective athletics directors, where it once resided,” Charlotte athletics director Judy Rose said.
The schools could continue to try to find a date, but McKillop said Davidson likely will start looking at another nonconference opponent for its final home date.
Lutz said his team also will likely start looking for a replacement road game Monday.
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