Morehead State announced a 31-game 2013-14 men's basketball schedule Friday that features 10 dates against postseason teams from a year ago, including UCLA and Tennessee.
"We're excited about the upcoming season," Coach Sean Woods said in the school's news release. "Our schedule is filled with quality opponents, but our team will get better by playing high-level competition. Our young men will be tested early and often, but I know they're looking forward to the challenge."
Morehead State will play 14 regular-season games at Johnson Arena, including non-conference matchups against Conference USA opponent Marshall (Nov. 17), Horizon League member Wright State (Dec. 2) and Mid-American Conference foe Bowling Green (Dec. 15).
The Eagles have four non-conference games versus 2013 post-season squads — at UCLA (Nov. 22), Wright State, Southern Mississippi (Dec. 4) and Tennessee (Dec. 23).
UCLA owns an NCAA-record 11 national championships and has been to seven of the last nine NCAA Tournaments. Southern Miss is led by former Morehead State Coach Donnie Tyndall.
MSU will also travel to the Cincinnati area before Thanksgiving for games against Big East Conference foe Xavier (Nov. 15) and Atlantic Sun Conference member Northern Kentucky (Nov. 19).
"I expect Xavier, UCLA, Southern Miss and Tennessee to all be big-time road environments, but we have several high-major transfers who have played in that type of atmosphere," Woods said. "That experience should certainly help us."
As part of the annual Las Vegas Invitational, Morehead State is set to play two neutral-court games at Orleans Arena. The Eagles will take on Chattanooga on Thanksgiving Day in Las Vegas and either Gardner-Webb or IUPUI the next day.
"I like to talk about playing anyone, at any time, using any location — and that's what we're doing again this year," Woods said. "Our strong non-conference schedule will help our RPI and prepare us for a very challenging league schedule."
The Ohio Valley Conference slate features 16 games. Morehead State opens league play with road games at SIU Edwardsville (Jan. 2) and Eastern Illinois (Jan. 4). The first league contest at home is versus rival Eastern Kentucky (Jan. 11).
The conference features two six-team divisions. Morehead State plays its own division, the East, two times each. The Eagles face the opposite division, the West, just once each season.
East Division members Belmont, Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee State all enjoyed post-season play in 2013. Belmont won the OVC Tournament and played in the NCAA Tournament.
"There's no doubt in my mind the OVC will be very good again this year," Woods said. "Belmont played in last year's NCAA Tournament, Tennessee State enjoyed a post-season berth, and Eastern Kentucky returns the majority of its pieces from a successful campaign."
Morehead State opens the season Nov. 2 with a home exhibition against NAIA member St. Catharine (Ky.).
The Eagles, who posted a 15-18 overall record and 8-8 league mark last season, advanced to the second round of the 2013 OVC Tournament.
"We have a solid mix of quality returning players and accomplished newcomers," Woods said. "I'm confident we will play a fast-paced and entertaining brand of basketball. We're looking forward to seeing lots of Eagle fans throughout the season."
Game times will be announced at a later date.
2013-14 Morehead State schedule
Home games in capital letters.Times to be announced at later date.
2—ST. CATHARINE (Exhibition); 9—Mid-Continent; 12—at East Tennessee State; 15—at Xavier; 17—MARSHALL; 19—at Northern Kentucky; 22—at UCLA (Las Vegas Invitational); 24—at Nevada (Las Vegas Invitational); 28—Chattanooga (Las Vegas Invitational); 29—Gardner-Webb or IUPUI (Las Vegas Invitational)
2—WRIGHT STATE; 4—at Southern Mississippi; 15—BOWLING GREEN; 19—SOUTH DAKOTA; 23—at Tennessee; 30—ASBURY
2—at SIU Edwardsville; 4—at Eastern Illinois; 11—EASTERN KENTUCKY; 16—SOUTHEAST MISSOURI; 18—UT MARTIN; 23—at Belmont; 25—at Tennessee State; 29—BELMONT
1—JACKSONVILLE STATE; 8—at Eastern Kentucky; 13—at Jacksonville State; 15—at Tennessee Tech; 20—AUSTIN PEAY; 22—at Murray State; 27—Tennessee State
1—TENNESSEE TECH; 5-8—OVC Tournament at Nashville, Tenn.