The Washington Times - August 26, 2008, 10:57AM

Doing a rundown of every basketball schedule from a Division I school in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District (dubbed here as “Delmarva/D.C.”) means a few fairly distant schools will be included.

Radford might be farther away than any of them. It’s somewhere down near Blacksburg. And as someone who has made that trip, here are assurances it’s a long ways away.

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But the Highlanders are indeed in the Old Dominion, so they merit a look at their recently released schedule.

And here it is:

They’ll miss: Not much. Radford brings back all five starters, and its leading senior scorer from last season averaged less than two points a game.

They’re adding: Familiarity. The Highlanders haven’t made it out of the first round of the Big South tournament since 2003, but second-year coach Brad Greenberg should be in better shape than in the first go-round. Even then, Radford managed to beat six of the other nine teams now part of the conference.

Home/road/neutral schedule split: 14/15/0

Best team visiting Radford: It might be Big South power Winthrop, but it might also be Duquesne, an Atlantic 10 team that has improved under Ron Everhart. The Dukes come to town on Dec. 10.

Best home game subplot: The Highlanders twice defeated VMI in overtime last season, and get their first crack at the relatively nearby Keydets on Jan. 21.

Funny seeing you here:  There’s only two nonconference opponents on the home schedule who also happen to be Division I schools. Duquesne edges out James Madison for this honor based on distance traveled.

Best road venue: Joel Coliseum. Radford makes the trip to Tie-Dye Nation on Dec. 30, though a holiday crowd at Wake Forest probably isn’t quite as good as one in the heart of ACC season.

Best showcase: Dec. 23 at West Virginia. The Mountaineers, even sans Joe Alexander, are probably the highest-profile opponent the Highlanders will face.

Best opponent: West Virginia or Wake Forest. The Mountaineers will start the season higher in the rankings, but a talented freshman class combined with superb holdovers in the backcourt make the Demon Deacons a possible answer here as well.

New to the schedule: Brevard College, Bridgewater, Virginia, William & Mary, Navy, Duquesne, George Mason, Wake Forest, Shenandoah

Pivotal stretch: The Highlanders resume conference play at the start of January with a trip to Presbyterian and Coastal Carolina before coming home to face UNC Asheville and Charleston Southern. Those two weeks should say quite a bit about how well Radford will fare in the Big South.

Patrick Stevens