Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee State men’s basketball team has announced its upcoming schedule for the 2013-14 season. The slate includes 14 non-conference matchups, nine of which will be on the road.
“As our program moves forward, we wanted to play some of the toughest competition in the country and I think we did that,” head coach Travis Williams said. “We also wanted to let our student-athletes see different parts of the country and experience things that they have never experienced before.”
After a tune-up exhibition against Lemoyne-Owen at home on Nov.4, the Tigers will begin the regular season in Honolulu, Hawai’i for the Rainbow Classic. TSU will play host Hawai’i on Nov. 8, New Mexico State Nov. 9 and Western Michigan Nov. 11.
“The Rainbow Classic is a very well-respected tournament and Hawai’i, New Mexico State and Western Michigan are very good programs that had winning records last season,” Williams said.
Following the trip to the paradise islands, the Tigers will go to Kansas for a tilt at 2012-13 Final Four team Wichita State on Nov. 16 before coming home to face cross-town rival Lipscomb on Nov. 18.
“Coach Marshall at Wichita State has taken that program to the highest level and they were just one game short of the National Championship. I’m excited about our guys playing a team of that caliber,” Williams said.
TSU will then hit the road for contests at Tennessee (Nov. 22), Auburn (Nov. 26), USC Upstate (Nov. 30), Drexel (Dec. 7) and Illinois State (Dec. 19). Sandwiched in-between those matchups are home games versus Alabama A&M on Dec. 3 and Fisk on Dec. 15.
The Tigers will play host for the remaining non-conference contests when Miami (Ohio) and former TSU coach John Cooper come to town on Dec. 21 and Middle Tennessee State visits the Gentry Center on Jan. 7.
“I’m looking forward to catching up with Coach Cooper,” Williams said. "I was his top assistant when he was here, and I thank him for that, but it will be a different experience coaching against him."
TSU will start Ohio Valley Conference play on the road at Eastern Illinois (Dec. 28). The remaining road OVC matchups are Southeast Missouri State (Jan. 11), UT Martin (Jan. 13), Jacksonville State (Jan. 16), Tennessee Tech (Jan. 30), Belmont (Feb. 13), Morehead State (Feb. 27) and Eastern Kentucky (March 1).
The home schedule for conference games includes Tennessee Tech (Jan. 2), Jacksonville State (Jan. 4), Belmont (Jan. 18), Eastern Kentucky (Jan. 23), Morehead State (Jan. 25), Austin Peay (Feb. 6), Murray State (Feb. 8) and SIUE (Feb. 20).
“The level of competition in this conference is incredible, and any team can win on any given night,” Williams said. "Our team will have to be physically and mentally prepared for each and every game."
This year’s Ohio Valley Conference Tournament will be held at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville from March 5-8.