ATHENS, Ohio -- The Ohio men's basketball team's 2018 non-conference schedule has been revealed, as announced by fifth-year head coach Saul Phillips today.
The announcement of the non-conference slate completes the Bobcats' 2018-19 schedule. The 2019 Mid-American Conference schedule was unveiled on July 31.
Ohio's home non-conference schedule features matchups against 2018 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Iona, Marshall and Radford at the Convocation Center. The Bobcats will play non-conference road games at Xavier, the No. 1 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament West Regional, and Purdue, the No. 2 seed in the 2018 NCAA Tournament East Regional.
"There aren't a whole lot of nights off," said Phillips of the non-conference schedule. "You look at teams that made the tournament last year like Iona and Marshall coming into the Convo, both quality games. We've challenged ourselves. I think it's going to give this young team a chance to grow, and, obviously, the ultimate goal is to ready yourself for MAC play."
Ohio's new season unofficially begins with a home exhibition matchup against Rio Grande (Nov. 3). The Bobcats faced RedStorm in their 2016 exhibition game, posting an 87-56 win.
The Bobcats begin the regular season with a pair of home games at the Convo, welcoming Wilberforce (Nov. 7) and Campbell (Nov. 12).
Ohio then heads to Montego Bay to compete in the Jersey Mike's Jamaica Classic, where the Bobcats will battle South Florida (Nov. 16) and Loyola Marymount (Nov. 18). Ohio will be facing South Florida for the first time since the Bobcats knocked off the Bulls, 62-56, in the 2012 NCAA Tournament Third Round.
The Bobcats will be back at the Convo for three-straight games to close out the month of November and begin December, hosting Austin Peay (Nov. 24), Iona (Nov. 27) and Marshall (Dec. 1). Ohio will be playing Iona for the third year in a row. The Gaels are coming off of a second-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament title and NCAA Tournament appearance. The Bobcats are set to face longtime rival Marshall for the fourth year in a row. Ohio defeated the Thundering Herd, 85-70, in Marshall's last visit to Athens on Dec. 1. Marshall is coming off a 2017-18 campaign in which it won the Conference USA Tournament championship. The No. 13-seeded Thundering Herd upset No. 4-seeded Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament First Round.
Ohio will play its first true road game of 2018-19 when it heads across the state to take on Xavier (Dec. 5) in Cincinnati. The Bobcats are 20-14 (.588) all-time against the Musketeers. The contest will be the first meeting between the in-state foes since Dec. 10, 2008, when then-No. 9-ranked Xavier beat Ohio, 78-56. Last season, the Musketeers went 29-6 and advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Ohio is then scheduled to matchup with Radford (Dec. 8) at the Convo. The Bobcats are 3-1 all-time against the Highlanders, but the two programs have not met since Dec. 2, 1997. Radford went 23-13 a year ago and won the Big South Conference Tournament title. After beating LIU Brooklyn in the First Four, the Highlanders fell to eventual national champion Villanova in the NCAA Tournament First Round.
Back-to-back road games are on the docket for the Bobcats before the holiday break, with visits to Detroit (Dec. 15) and Purdue (Dec. 20) scheduled. The Bobcats will be taking on the Boilermakers for the first time since 1969. Purdue finished 30-7 a year ago and advanced all the way to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen.
Ohio wraps up its 2018 non-conference schedule with a home game against Florida International (Dec. 30), marking the second all-time meeting between the Bobcats and first since 2004.
Tip-off times for Ohio's entire slate of games in 2018-19 will be announced at a later date, as will television, streaming and radio information. Call 1-800-575-CATS (2287) for ticket information. Ohio Athletics will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Convocation Center throughout the 2018-19 season, with the men's basketball team's Jan. 26 matchup against Ball State serving as the anniversary celebration game. Stay tuned to OhioBobcats.com for more information.
Ohio has won 67 games over the past four seasons under Phillips and made back-to-back MAC Tournament semifinal appearances in 2016 and '17. The Bobcats advanced to the College Basketball Invitational Semifinals in 2016. Ohio has tallied 10 All-MAC selections over the last four years under Phillips. Returning for the Bobcats in 2018-19 will be senior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) – an All-MAC Honorable Mention selection each of the past two seasons – as well as guard Teyvion Kirk (Joilet, Ill.), who garnered MAC All-Freshman Team honors in 2017-18. Also returning for Ohio next season is forward Jason Carter (Johnstown, Ohio), who missed all but three games last year due to injury after earning a spot on the MAC All-Freshman Team in 2016-17.