July 6, 2010
2010-11 Non-Conference Schedule
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio men's basketball team released its 2010-11 non-conference schedule today. The Bobcats will play a record 10 home games and face at least seven teams that qualified for postseason play last year.
The Bobcats' scheduled non-conference opponents combined to post a .582 winning percentage in 2009-10, bettering last season's mark, while seven schools qualified for postseason play. Of those seven teams, four qualified for the NCAA Tournament and the other three opponents averaged almost 24 wins apiece. Last year, the Bobcats had the third-hardest strength-of-schedule among Mid-American Conference teams.
Playing 10 games inside the Convo should be beneficial to a team that will feature 10 freshmen and sophomores on the roster. Ohio has been an excellent team on their home floor and owns the highest home-winning percentage in the conference since the building opened in 1968. Over the last six seasons, the Bobcats are 73-12 (.859) in home contests.
"We are thrilled once again to have put together a schedule that fits our upcoming team very well," Head Coach John Groce said. "The opportunity to play ten non-conference home games speaks of the strong commitment that we have from our administration. After a successful post-season run to end last year we are very excited about the possibilities of playing often in front of our home crowd at The Convo. We hope to create and even more advantageous environment."
For the second year in a row, Ohio opens play with four home games. Delaware comes into the Convo for the season opener on Saturday, November 13 led by Second Team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection Jawan Carter. It will be the third year in a row the two teams have played each other during the regular season.
Two days later, the Bobcats host the defending champions of the Summit League, Oakland. The Grizzlies went 17-1 in conference play last season and return the conference's player of the year, Keith Benson. They have also posted four-consecutive winning seasons and have back-to-back postseason appearances.
The following week, Ohio squares off against two opponents in preparation for the Las Vegas Invitational. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi will be in Athens on Sunday, November 21 and Valparaiso follows them on Monday, November 23. The Islanders have recorded winning records during six of the last seven seasons, including 2009-10, and reached the NCAA Tournament in 2007. They are led by Demond Watt, a Third Team All-Southland Conference choice. The Crusaders will be led by Horizon League Freshman of the Year Brandon Wood and second-team all-conference selection Cory Johnson.
Over Thanksgiving, the Bobcats will be playing in the Las Vegas Invitational against national-power Kansas and Santa Clara. For more information on those contests, you can click here.
Ohio Men's Basketball to Play in Las Vegas Invitational
The final month on the 2010 calendar opens with the 96th meeting between the Bobcats and Marshall. Ohio dropped a close contest in Charleston, W. Va. last year and has lost three in a row to the Thundering Herd who welcome in new head coach Tom Herrion. Marshall has recorded winning seasons two of the last three years and qualified for the CollegeInsider.com Tournament in 2009-10. The contest will be played on Saturday, December 4.
On Wednesday, December 8, Ohio will have their first true road contest when they play Missouri Valley Conference opponent Illinois State. It will be the sixth meeting between the teams with the Bobcats leading the overall series 3-2. That advantage comes courtesy of a 75-57 win in the Convo last year. The Redbirds lost some key players from last season but have had three-consecutive campaigns result in 22 or more wins and NIT appearances.
That weekend, the Green & White return home for a date with IUPUI on Sunday, December 12. The Jaguars, runners-up in the Summit League, will be led by all-conference selection Alex Young. After making the College Basketball Invitational last year, IUPUI has now racked up eight-consecutive winning seasons under Head Coach Ron Hunter. The Bobcats won a thriller between the teams last season at Conseco Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers.
St. Francis (Pa.) enters town on Wednesday, December 15. The Red Flash return six of their top eight players that all averaged over 20 minutes of action last season. They will be led by Cleveland native and leading returning scorer, sophomore Will Felder. That weekend, Ohio travels to New York for a matchup with St. Bonaventure on Saturday, December 18. The top player for the Bonnies is Second Team All-Atlantic 10 choice Andrew Nicholson who averaged 16.4 points and 7.1 rebounds last year.
One of the bigger non-conference contests will be against Temple on Wednesday, December 22 in the Convo. The Owls have made the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons and captured their first A-10 regular season title under Head Coach Fran Dunphy in 2009-10. Lavoy Allen, who became the first player to average a double-double for Temple since 1971, flirted with the draft before returning to school. He and guard Juan Fernandez will try and duplicate the success of last season's 29-win team.
The last game of 2010 will be on Thursday, December 30 against Norfolk State. The Spartans return a handful of starters and Second Team All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference selection Kyle O'Quinn. 2011 starts with a home matchup with Robert Morris on Sunday, January 2. The Colonials have amassed five-consecutive winning seasons, three straight-postseason berths and consecutive conference titles. Northeast Conference Freshman of the Year Karon Abraham made a name for himself in last year's NCAA tournament game against Villanova.
The Bobcats will wait until February to put their non-conference schedule to rest, as the team is set to take part in an ESPNU BracketBusters game for the eighth year in a row. Matchups for the event will be announced in early February. This year's game will be a road contest for Ohio since last year's matchup was at home against Wright State.
"Our schedule will allow our young team, with 10 freshmen and sophomores, to grow," Groce added. "Many of the teams we play have an established tradition of winning and in most cases had a very successful campaign last season. The schedule will pose a tremendous challenge for us. We are looking forward to learning more about our team."
Prior to opening the regular season, Ohio will play two exhibition contests, facing The College of Wooster on Oct. 31 and welcoming Walsh University on Nov. 6.
The MAC office will release the conference portion of the Bobcats' 2010-11 schedule at a later date.