MOREHEAD – Morehead State University has finalized its 2016-17 men’s basketball schedule. The 30-game slate features 15 home games, highlighted by contests at Johnson Arena against OVC foes Belmont on Jan. 14, Eastern Kentucky on Jan. 21, and Murray State on Feb. 8. The Eagles will travel to ACC member Pittsburgh on Nov. 25, Big Ten member Purdue on Dec. 3, and SEC member Mississippi State on Dec. 22.
Game times and home event promotions will be announced via MSUEagles.com in the near future.
“It’s another tough schedule, and that’s been the story of our lives the last few years. But, we want to play against the best. We use our tough schedule to get better throughout the year and it helps recruiting, because guys know they’re going to get to play against the best in the country,” said head coach Sean Woods.
The non-conference home portion of the schedule includes games against Kentucky Christian (Nov. 11), Atlantic Sun member Lipscomb (Nov. 13), Horizon League member Northern Kentucky (Nov. 30), Southern Conference foe East Tennessee State (Dec. 17), Southland Conference member Central Arkansas (Dec. 19), and Asbury (Ky.) (Dec. 28).
The Eagles start out on the road against longtime rival and Conference USA member Marshall on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The game against Marshall will be the 98th meeting with the Thundering Herd in a series that began during the 1939-40 season. Morehead State then travels to Missouri Valley Conference member Evansville (Nov. 19), Pittsburgh, Purdue, Lipscomb (Dec. 10), Big Sky member Eastern Washington (Dec. 13), and Mississippi State.
“During the non-conference road portion of the schedule, we’re really going to have to pull up our boot straps and go at it because there’s not an easy night,” said Woods.
The OVC slate includes 16 games. Morehead State opens league play on the road against UT Martin (Dec. 31), followed by four straight home games against SIU Edwardsville (Jan. 5), Eastern Illinois (Jan. 7), Tennessee State (Jan. 12), and Belmont. They then face Murray State at home on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
“We’re excited about bringing in Murray State on a Wednesday night. Our students will be in full force,” said Woods.
Morehead State will play all of the teams in its division, the East, two times each, and face teams in the West just once.
Last season, the OVC had six teams compete in the postseason, which set a new record for the league and four teams won 20-plus games, which tied an all-time league record.
Overall, the Eagles will face nine teams that made the postseason a year ago, including three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
“This schedule challenges our team and provides great games at home for our students, ticket holders, and fans,” said Director of Athletics Brian Hutchinson. “We realize how important our schedule is to our fan base, especially with games we have a chance to play at Johnson Arena. We are very excited about the upcoming season.”
Morehead State opens the season on Nov. 6 with a home exhibition against Cincinnati Christian.
“Our goal, as it is every year, is to get to the NCAA Tournament,” said Woods. “We had some misfortunes last year with some injuries at inopportune times, but you saw how good we were once we got healthy and made our run in the CBI. Hopefully, we can stay injury-free as we enter the OVC Tournament in Nashville this year.”
Last season, the Eagles recorded one of the best seasons in program history with a 23-14 record. The 37 games played were the most in program history, while the 23 wins ranked fourth. The Eagles’ run to the College Basketball Invitational Finals marked the program’s first-ever trip to a national postseason championship game, and their four postseason wins marked the most in school history.
Season tickets for all 32 men’s and women’s basketball games are available for as low as $80 for the general public. Or get a reserved chair back seat, with a name plate, for every game for $195. Call (606) 783-2386 or visit MSUEagles.com/Tix for more info.