CARBONDALE -- The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Salukis have announced their non-conference men's basketball schedule. It's a 13-game slate that features regional rivals Saint Louis, SIUE, SEMO and Murray State.
The regular-season begins on Nov. 15 at Saint Louis — a program that won 27 games and qualified for the NCAA Tournament last season. The Salukis will remain on the road the following week with a trip to Ohio Valley Conference opponent Tennessee State on Nov. 18, followed by a three-day tournament at Kent State (Nov. 21-23) that includes Yale and UIC, in addition to the host Golden Flashes.
SIUC plays its first regular-season home game on Nov. 29 versus NAIA Olivet Nazarene, before traveling to SIUE on Wednesday, Dec. 3, for a game at the Vadalabene Center.
Five of the next six games will be at home with dates against Austin Peay (Dec. 6), Chicago State (Dec. 14), a second game versus Tennessee State (Dec. 16), New Orleans (Dec. 19) and Murray State (Dec. 22). The Salukis also play at SEMO (Dec. 10).
Freshman Deion Lavender of Marquette Catholic High is one of the Salukis' prized recruits. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 25.3 points per game, tops for Southwestern Illinois players, the past season. Marquette won the Triad Class 3A Regional title
"With six freshmen and three sophomores on our roster, we've put together a schedule that will challenge our team heading into the conference season," third-year coach Barry Hinson said.
All-Missouri Valley Conference guard Anthony Beane and two other starters return from last year's team that finished tied for fourth in the MVC.
Hinson added, "We're also playing twice in the St. Louis area, plus games in Cape Girardeau and Nashville, that will allow our fans in those areas a chance to see us play."
This is the final year of a four-year contract to play both SIUE and Chicago State. The Salukis are a combined 5-1 against those teams during the past three seasons.
SIUC has not played OVC foes SEMO since 2010 and Tennessee State since 2004. The last time the Salukis played UIC of the Horizon League was in 2009. They played New Orleans, which is transitioning to the Southland Conference, twice in 2012, but have never played Yale or Olivet Nazarene.