RICHMOND, Ky. – Six games against NCAA Tournament teams highlight the 2013-14 Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball schedule. The Colonels will play a total of eight games against teams that played in the postseason a year ago.
In conjunction with the release of the 2013-14 schedule, Eastern is asking fans to vote in the “Best EKU Team Ever” poll on the men’s basketball page of EKUSports.com.
Eastern Kentucky is expected to be among the favorites in the Ohio Valley Conference. Four starters and a total of 13 letter winners return from the 2012-13 squad that won a school record 25 games and posted the second best conference mark at 12-4. The Colonels advanced to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) and picked up the program’s first victory in a national postseason tournament game in 68 years.
“This year’s schedule is designed to challenge an experienced team,” head coach Jeff Neubauer said. “We will learn so much from the different styles that we will face throughout November and December. We are really looking forward to this season.”
Of Eastern’s 30 games, 16 will be against teams that posted a winning record in 2012-13 and seven will be against squads that won 20 or more.
EKU will open the 2013-14 campaign on Nov. 8 against Florida International at the Kennesaw State Invitational. The Colonels will face the host team a day later, followed by Youngstown State on Nov. 10.
Eastern Kentucky will conclude play in the Kennesaw State Invitational with a home game on Nov. 13 against Warren Wilson College. The Owls won the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association national championship last season. Both teams played Western Carolina last year. EKU beat the Catamounts 72-70 at home. WWC trailed by three with 15 minutes left in the game before ultimately losing by 25 points on the road.
The next three games will be played at home as well – High Point on Nov. 16, Alabama A&M on Nov. 19 and Brescia University on Nov. 22. Eastern beat High Point 73-70 on the road last season. The Panthers also earned a bid to the 2013 CIT.
The Colonels are 61-14 (.813) at home over the last five years and have won 16 straight home non-conference games.
EKU’s first two games against teams that played in last season’s NCAA Tournament will be on Nov. 30 and Dec. 5. The first is at North Carolina State against a Wolfpack team that went 24-11. The second will be at Virginia Commonwealth, which finished 27-9 in 2012-13.
After a road game at Longwood, Eastern will face two more NCAA Tournament teams. EKU plays at Wisconsin (23-12) on Dec. 14 and will then host North Carolina A&T (20-17) on Dec. 18 at McBrayer Arena. The Colonels close out the 2013 calendar year at IPFW on Dec. 29.
The team’s quest for the program’s seventh OVC regular season championship begins with road games at Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois Edwardsville the first week of January.
The second week of January could be called “Rivalry Week” for the Colonels. On Jan. 8, Murray State (21-10) makes its first appearance at McBrayer Arena since Dec. 2, 2010. Three days later EKU will play at Morehead State.
“It’s exciting that we’ll have the chance to host Belmont and Morehead State after EKU students return from winter break,” Neubauer said. “Our fans can make McBrayer Arena a tough place to play. Our guys feed off that energy.”
The first meeting with Belmont (26-7), the 2013 OVC Champions, will be in Richmond on Thursday night, Jan. 16. A week and a half later, Eastern will play at Belmont.
The Colonels’ final non-conference game of the regular season is Feb. 4 at home against Chattanooga. EKU beat the Mocs 63-52 on the road last season.
Morehead State comes to Richmond on Saturday, Feb. 8. After three road games, Eastern will close out the regular season at home on Feb. 27 and March 1 against Tennessee Tech and Tennessee State, respectively.
The 2014 OVC Tournament begins with first round action on March 5. The finals are scheduled for March 8. The NCAA Tournament First Four is set for March 18-19. The second round will be played March 20-21.