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Colonial Athletic Association schedule: With the full slate out, here are the dates to circle

These are the games to keep an eye on around the Colonial

CAA Basketball Tournament - Championship Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The Colonial Athletic Association released its 2016-17 men’s basketball schedule on Thursday morning, reminding fans that the season is just around the corner.

Kicking off on New Year’s Eve, each team will play with four games over an eight day stretch. After that, the schedule settles nicely into the weekly Thursday/Saturday matchups we saw last year. Each of the 10 league members will play each opponent once on the road and once at home.

With so much parity in the league, there will be dates with more than one entertaining game on tap. Here are a couple to mark on your calendar.

December 31

College of Charleston at Elon
Hofstra at Delaware
Drexel at James Madison
UNCW at Towson
William & Mary at Northeastern

The season begins with a bang. Towson might be the biggest challenger to UNCW in the conference, and they host the defending champs with the goal of making a strong opening statement. If the Tigers come out with the energy and physicality they regularly showcase, they’ll put the rest of the league on notice. Meanwhile, two of the league’s rookie coaches will debut against one another in the Drexel-James Madison game, and its two longest-tenured will reunite for the William & Mary-Northeastern contest.

January 19

Towson at Hofstra
Northeastern at Delaware
UNCW at College of Charleston
Drexel at Elon
James Madison at William & Mary

This might be as close to “rivalry week” as the CAA hoops season can get. The upstart Charleston Cougars played Wilmington tough last season, and they’ll be looking to finally overtake their coastal neighbors in front of a home crowd. Towson vs. Hofstra will likely feature the two best traditional big men in the conference -- William Adala-Moto and Rokas Gustys -- going head-to-head in the paint. JMU and William & Mary will also renew their in-state rivalry for the first time this season.

January 28

Towson at Northeastern
Elon at Hofstra
James Madison at Delaware
College of Charleston at Drexel
UNCW at William & Mary

William & Mary has its best opportunity to unseat Wilmington as it hosts the Seahawks. If Omar Prewitt and the Tribe are finally going to make it to the Big Dance, a home victory over the presumptive favorites is a big confidence builder. Towson will be looking for revenge after Northeastern eliminated them from the CAA quarterfinals last season. We also get to see two new offensive schemes battle it out in Newark.

February 18

College of Charleston at Northeastern
William & Mary at Delaware
Elon at Drexel
UNCW at Hofstra
James Madison at Towson

Another revenge-themed day of CAA basketball. Fans get a rematch of last year’s overtime CAA Championship game between Hofstra and Wilmington. Charleston will also look for redemption against Northeastern; late last season the two teams were fighting for the final tournament bye when the Cougars lost a winnable game in Boston. Meanwhile Elon was the first team eliminated from last year’s tournament when Drexel upset them in game one.

February 23

Northeastern at Elon
Towson at UNCW
Delaware at College of Charleston
James Madison at Drexel
Hofstra at William & Mary

The final week of the season should have some high stakes for conference tournament seeding. Towson and UNCW could compete for a regular season championship. Each of the other four matchups could decide who gets a first-round bye in March. When the CAA postseason comes down to Charleston, many expect the teams from south of the Mason-Dixon line to be in contention.