Aug. 13, 2008
ATHENS, Ohio -
2008-09 Non-Conference Schedule
A minimum of five games against teams that took the court in the 2008 postseason, including at least four against NCAA Tournament participants from a year ago, headline the 2008-09 Ohio University men’s basketball non-conference schedule, released on Wednesday afternoon.
Ohio’s scheduled non-conference opponents combined to post a .574 winning percentage in 2007-08, while seven schools won at least 17 games, and five won at least 20, a year ago.
The Bobcats will play seven home dates – two exhibitions and five regular-season contests – during the non-conference slate, highlighted by matchups with 2008 Elite Eight participant Xavier and Tulsa, the College Basketball Invitational champion last season.
“We’re very excited about our difficult non-conference schedule,” Ohio head coach John Groce said. “The different styles we’re playing against and the different places we’ll be playing will help prepare us for the rigorous MAC schedule. I know our staff and players are very anxious to take on this tremendous challenge.”
After tuning up with exhibitions against College of Wooster and Mercyhurst in early November, Ohio opens the season at home on Nov. 16 against 2008 Colonial Athletic Association Tournament runner-up William & Mary. The game will be the first-ever meeting on the hardwood between the two schools, and also represents the first of Ohio’s three matchups with CAA teams during the non-conference campaign.
The ‘Cats follow that short homestand with a pair of road outings against teams that made last year’s NCAA Tournament, taking on Austin Peay on Nov. 22 and visiting George Mason on Nov. 29. The latter contest will be a rematch of last season’s ESPNU Bracketbusters contest that saw Ohio score a 69-57 home win over the eventual CAA Tournament champions.
A quick home game against 2008 CBI champ Tulsa on Dec. 3, the inaugural meeting between the schools, precedes a trip to Louisville for the Marques Maybin Classic, named for the former Cardinals star who was paralyzed from the waist down in 2003. The Bobcats will open their three-game run in Louisville on Dec. 6 with a tilt against 2008 Southland Conference co-champion Lamar before taking on the host Cardinals, who made a run to the NCAA Elite Eight and finished the year ranked sixth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll, the following night. Ohio will close out its trip on Dec. 8 with its first-ever contest with Indiana State.
Following the Marques Maybin Classic, the ‘Cats schedule keeps them on the road for three more games, taking the Green and White to Xavier on Dec. 10, Delaware on Dec. 13 and Marshall on Dec. 17. Ohio leads the all-time series with Xavier, 20-13, but the two schools haven’t met since the Bobcats took a 103-72 decision in Athens on Dec. 9, 1995. The Bobcats have also taken four of the last five decisions from Marshall, a former Mid-American Conference member, and lead the all-time series by a 50-43 count.
Ohio wraps up the pre-MAC portion of its non-conference schedule with a trio of home games, each of which is a return date from games the ‘Cats played on the road in 2007-08. Holy Cross, who used a last-second layup to knock off Ohio in Worcester last season, will be in town on Dec. 22, followed by a Dec. 30 tilt with St. Francis (N.Y.). The Bobcats ring in the new year by hosting Bucknell on Jan. 3 in a rematch of Ohio’s 53-47 win on the Bisons’ home court last season.
The Bobcats will wait until February to put their non-conference schedule to bed, as they will take part in an ESPNU Bracketbusters game for the sixth year in a row. Ohio’s win over George Mason in last year’s edition of the program pushed its record to 3-2 in those contests. Bracketbusters matchups and broadcast schedule will be announced in early February.
The 2008-09 season will send Ohio in search of its fifth-straight winning season, as well as its second-straight postseason berth for the first time since the 1993-94 and 1994-95 campaigns. The Bobcats will open the year riding a 21-game non-conference home winning streak, dating back to Dec. 9, 2003.
The MAC portion of the schedule will be released at a later date.