Redbirds Complete 2012-13 Non-Conference Schedule
Aug. 16, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - A total of five teams that won 20 or more games last season and a quartet of programs that played in the postseason dot the 2012-13 Illinois State men's basketball non-conference schedule, as announced by first-year head coach Dan Muller Thursday.
The 12-game slate includes seven home games to be played on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena and five to be played on the road, including a pair to be played in Texas at the South Padre Island Invitational in November. Muller and his staff worked hard to secure games that would benefit his team and he was pleased with the way the non-conference schedule unfolded.
"I'm excited about the non-conference schedule we've put together," Muller said. "When I was hired, I outlined several goals for what we want to accomplish with our non-conference schedule. The first is to prepare our team for a tough Missouri Valley Conference schedule, and I think this schedule will do that. The second is to get our players experience in tough environments against good teams, especially on the road, and the last is to bolster our team and program the best chance for postseason play."
The Redbirds will play an exhibition game against in-state foe Quincy Nov. 5, before officially opening the season Nov. 12 at home against UC-Santa Barbara, which finished with a 20-11 overall record last season. ISU will then hit the road for the first time Nov. 15, for the start of home-and-home series with Drexel, the 2012 regular-season champions of the Colonial Athletic Association. Drexel posted a 29-7 overall record last season, before falling 72-70 to Massachusetts in the third round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Following the road contest against the Dragons, the Redbirds will host Delaware State (Nov. 18) and Fairleigh Dickinson (Nov. 20) in the on-campus portion of the South Padre Invitational. The team will then travel to Texas, Nov. 23-24, for the tournament and will open play on Friday against UAB. ISU will then play either TCU or Northwestern, Saturday, in the second game of the tournament to be held at the South Padre Island Convention Center.
A Dec. 1 game at Louisville at the Yum! Center will be next on the docket for the Redbirds. Louisville is projected by many pontificators to be ranked in the top-five nationally in the preseason polls and to be a favorite in the BIG EAST, after qualifying for the NCAA Tournament last season and posting a 30-10 overall record.
ISU will then return home for three-straight games, beginning with a Dec. 4 matchup against Wyoming as part of the Mountain West - Missouri Valley Challenge. Western Michigan will visit next for a Dec. 8 contest and the three-game homestand will conclude Dec. 16 tilt against Morgan State.
The final road game of the non-conference season will take place Dec. 19 against Dayton, which finished tied for fifth in the Atlantic-10 Conference last season and posted an overall mark of 20-13, while earning an NIT berth. ISU's final game before starting Missouri Valley Conference play will be held Dec. 22 against Austin Peay.
"I think we have a good balance of home and road games with this schedule," Muller stated. "The road games at Louisville, Dayton and Drexel will be strong challenges for our team, as will the South Padre Island Invitational. Overall, I'm very happy with the way the schedule turned out."
Travel information for the South Padre Island Invitational and other select road games will be announced at a later date on GoRedbirds.com.
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