HAMMOND – A non-conference schedule that features three teams that finished in the Associated Press Top 25, six games against teams that appeared in the NCAA Championships and a revamped Southland Conference schedule that includes newcomer Oral Roberts highlight the 2012-13 Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball schedule that was released on Saturday.
Southeastern, which returns nine letterwinners and four starters for head coach Jim Yarbrough, will play a total of eight games against teams that competed in either the 2012 NCAA Championships or the National Invitational Tournament during the regular season. The Lions will open the season with three games (Wisconsin, Marquette, New Mexico State) in a five-day period – all against teams that advanced to the NCAA Championships – and will also travel to face SEC member Florida on Dec. 19.
The Lions will also travel in non-conference play to Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas and against a yet-to-be-named opponent in the Sears’ Bracketbuster that is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2013.
“This may be the toughest non-conference schedule that we’ve put together,” Yarbrough said. “We have some high expectations for our season and we’ll test ourselves very early. The first week will tell us a lot about ourselves, reveal some things and will help us learn a bunch. Once those three games are behind us, we’ll use that as a launch pad to the rest of our season.”
Southeastern opens the season on Nov. 11 at Big Ten member Wisconsin (26-10 in 2011-12), which finished No. 14 nationally in the final AP poll. Two nights later, the Lions will travel to face Big East member Marquette (27-8 in 2011-12), which finished 11th nationally, before traveling cross country to face Western Athletic Conference member and NCAA Championship participant New Mexico State (26-10 in 2011-12) on Nov. 15 in Las Cruces, N.M.
The Lions, who will face Millsaps College in an exhibition game on Nov. 7, will officially open their 12-game home schedule in the University Center on Nov. 20 against in-state foe Louisiana College. Southeastern will also host Ohio Valley Conference foe Southeast Missouri (Dec. 1) and Spring Hill College (Dec. 29) in non-conference action.
Southeastern will open the Southland Conference portion of its schedule on Jan. 3 when it welcomes league newcomer ORU, which finished 27-7 last season and appeared in the NIT, to the University Center. The Lions will play 18 games in league play before competing in the Southland Conference Tournament that is scheduled for March 13-16 in Katy, Texas.
The top eight teams will advance to the Southland Conference Championships with the top two seeds earning byes until the semifinals on March 15. The No. 3 and No. 4 seeds will earn a bye into the quarterfinals, scheduled for March 14, while the No. 5-No. 8 seeded teams will look to advance in first round games.