EDWARDSVILLE – Five nonconference home contests, a pair of first-time opponents and a trip to Hawaii highlight the 2016-17 SIUE men’s basketball schedule revealed by second-year head coach Jon Harris.
The schedule tips off in Hawaii, where the Cougars will compete in the Outrigger Rainbow Classic, hosted by the University of Hawaii. SIUE accepted an invitation to be part of the Rainbow Classic, which included covering travel costs to allow the Cougars to be part of the four-team event.
The Cougars will face host Hawaii on Friday, Nov. 11. SIUE will take on Florida Atlantic on Sunday, Nov. 13. The Cougars will close their time in Hawaii with Texas State on Monday, Nov. 14.
“We’re very excited to take our group to Hawaii this year,” Harris said. “One of our goals through scheduling is to enhance our student-athletes’ experience while with us at SIUE. We look forward to three competitive games to open our 2016-2017 slate.”
The home schedule at Vadalabene Center opens with rival SIU Carbondale on Friday, Nov. 18. The Cougars earned the program’s first win over the Salukis, a 76-74 victory, in Carbondale last December. Other home nonconference matchups include IUPUI (Nov. 26), Stetson (Dec. 7) and Missouri S&T (Dec. 28).
SIUE makes a trip to Jonesboro, Ark., for a first-ever game at Arkansas State (Nov. 22). The Cougars scored a home win against the Red Wolves last season. The Cougars make another first-time trip to face Grand Canyon (Nov. 28) in Phoenix.
SIUE will then travel to Bloomington, Ind., to face Big Ten power Indiana (Dec. 2). At Indiana, Harris will face off with his former college coach Tom Crean. Harris played under Crean for three seasons at Marquette.
The Cougars’ head coach will lead his team against his alma mater, Marquette (Dec. 21), in the second half of a two-game road trip. SIUE also will play at Green Bay (Dec. 19), where Harris began his full-time coaching career during the 2003-04 season.
“Similarly to last year, our non-conference schedule will be very challenging,” Harris added. “We always look to put our guys in hostile environments, in addition to bringing quality opponents into the Vadalabene Center for our fans to see. There’s no question that November and December will prepare us for another trek through a well-balanced OVC.”
The Ohio Valley Conference schedule begins on the road for the Cougars, who will travel to Eastern Kentucky (Jan. 5) and Morehead State (Jan. 7) to open the OVC slate. SIUE also will travel to Southeast Missouri (Jan. 19), UT Martin (Jan. 21), Eastern Illinois (Jan. 28), Belmont (Feb. 1), Murray State (Feb. 16) and Austin Peay (Feb. 18).
The eight-game home OVC schedule begins with Austin Peay (Jan. 12) and Murray State (Jan. 14). Tennessee State (Jan. 25), Jacksonville State (Feb. 4), Southeast Missouri (Feb. 9), UT Martin (Feb. 11) and Eastern Illinois (Feb. 25) also make trips to SIUE for conference contests.
“We felt great about the energy in the VC last season, and hope that we can raise the bar a few decibels this winter,” Harris said. “We have to create an environment in our building that is one of the most formidable in the OVC.”
The OVC Tournament returns to Municipal Auditorium in Nashville from March 1-4. SIUE will be looking to return to the championship for the first time since 2014-15.
The schedule remains subject to change and game times will be announced at a later date.
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