The season opened this weekend on the road with a win over UCF in Orlando and a loss to Florida in the Swamp. Now, it's time for the Panthers to enjoy the 2012-13 Home Opener as they play host to Jacksonville State on Wednesday night under the bright lights on the shiny floor in the Sports Arena.

Six veterans, who each played all 30 games last year, return from last year's team, while five newcomers will make their debuts on the home court.

The Panther Basketball Pep Band, the Spirit Squads with cheer and dance, and Pounce the Mascot will help put a charge into the opening night.

Concessions are just $1 across the board, so the budget certainly fits all wallets and pocket books. The roster cards are free to learn the players. The video board provides information and replays. Marketing provides chances for prizes and entertainment during the timeouts.

Every seat in the house is a good seat with a great views and the cost is just $5 per seat. That's truly another super value. GSU students, with their Panther ID Card, are admitted for free.  Purchase tickets online here or call 866-GASTATE for more information.

Come on out and enjoy the only Home Opener of the year. It comes just once a year, so get the season started right. Tip time is 7, but get here early to enjoy the concession prices and introductions with the lights out. Plenty of parking is available next door in the covered G Deck off Collins Street and Decatur.

FAST PACED, HIGH-OCTANE PLAY

Last year, the Panthers 2011-12 assets were mainly on defense and that obviously was a point of emphasis again this year:

  • GSU ranked No. 1 in the CAA in steals (307, 10.5, No. 45 NCAA)

        This year, the team started with 23 steals (11.5 per game)

  • GSU forced 613 turnovers last year (20.4 per game)

        This year, the team started with 51 forced (25.5 per game)

  • GSU ranked No. 1 in the CAA in blocked shots (152, 5.1, No. 26 NCAA)

        This year, the team started with 8 blocks (4.0 per game)

  • GSU ranked No. 5 in the CAA in FG pct. allowed (.385)

         This year, the team started on the same aggressive pace (.380)

  • GSU ranked No. 5 in the CAA in rebounds (41.2).

        This year, the team started with 92 boards (46.0)

The offense is No. 2 in the CAA in scoring, striking in qiuick fashion with drives to the basket or outlet passes for the three-point bombs from a variety of long-range shooters.

HOME OPENER RECORD

Georgia State's Home Opener record is 8-6 over the past 14 seasons, but that can be traced to scheduling. Last year's opening loss to Arizona was part of the pattern of losses to ranked major teams like Florida State, Georgia Tech, Georgia and Middle Tennessee.

GSU-JACKSONVILLE STATE SERIES HISTORY

Georgia State and Jacksonville State are only about 90 miles apart with JSU just over the state border north of I-20 and Anniston.

GSU and JSU have met 27 times before, with the Panthers holding a 22-5 all-time series lead with the Gamecocks following last year's win in Jacksonville, Ala.

In Atlanta, Georgia State has a 9-3 mark in the Sports Arena against the Gamecocks. JSU's last win in Atlanta came on Jan. 16, 1999, as JSU has lost its last six trips to Atlanta.

Overall, Georgia State has won the last six games and 14 of the last 15 games in the series. JSU's only win in that span was on Jan. 25, 2003 in Jacksonville.

HOME, SWEET, HOME

GSU will enjoy the luxury of playing eight of its next nine games at home between Wednesday and New Year's Eve.

After a week off, GSU will return to the courts with the annual Thanksgiving Tournament on the Friday and Saturday after the big day. GSU will battle the other GSU (Georgia Southern) at 2 p.m. with Kent State from the MAC taking on Florida A & M from the MEAC in the 4 p.m. game.