Mens Basketball Schedule Finalized

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The Wade Level
The Indiana State men?s basketball team now know who and where they will be playing during the 2007-08 season, as the Missouri Valley Conference released the composite league schedule on Friday. Head coach Kevin McKenna and the Sycamores also finalized their non-conference slate on Friday as well.

ISU opens the season with exhibition contests at the Hulman Center against DePauw (Nov. 1) and Nebraska-Kearney (Nov. 4). The Sycamores will then welcome Oakland City to Terre Haute on November 9 to open the regular season. Two road contests will follow for ISU at in-state foe Butler (Nov. 14) and at North Texas (Nov. 17), before returning home to face Mid-American Conference foe Northern Illinois (Nov. 20) and IPFW (Nov. 24) to wind out the first month of action.

The month of December opens with a road contest in West Lafayette against Purdue on the first day of the month. Two games will follow against back-to-back Mid-American Conference foes Miami (Ohio) on December 4 in Oxford, Ohio, and with Ball State at home (Dec. 8). The Sycamores will then take a week off before heading to New Orleans, La., for a return game from last season at Tulane (Dec. 17) and then wrap up their non-conference schedule with a home game against Bowling Green on December 22.

McKenna is confident that his squad?s non-conference schedule will be a challenging one, as the Sycamores will face off on the road against four 2007 NCAA Tournament qualifiers in Butler, North Texas, Purdue and Miami (Ohio).

?When you take a look at the non-conference schedule, you can see that it?s going to be very competitive,? said McKenna. ?We have four games on the road against teams who were tournament qualifiers last year and have to head to Tulane for a tough game as well. Then, when you throw in quality MAC opponents like Ball State, Northern Illinois and Bowling Green, the schedule becomes even more polished. It?s really going to be a good test and great preparation for what promises to be another balanced year in the Valley.?

A road contest at in-state rival Evansville (Dec. 29) starts the Valley season, before the Sycamores play host to Creighton (Jan. 2) and Northern Iowa (Jan. 5) in the first of two nationally-televised games. Three out of the next four contests will be played on the road, highlighted by a televised game at Creighton (Jan. 19). ISU will then return home for a home contest against Evansville on Jan. 23, before traveling to Illinois State (Jan. 27) and Bradley (Jan. 30).

The Drake Bulldogs visit the Hulman Center (Feb. 2) to start the month of February and then the Sycamores head out for road games at Southern Illinois (Feb. 5) and Wichita State (Feb. 9). Three-straight home games against Bradley (Feb. 12), Illinois State (Feb. 16) and Wichita State (Feb. 19) will take the Sycamores into the sixth-annual O?Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters series, where they will face a non-conference opponent in the two-day event.

The regular season will then wrap up with a road test at Northern Iowa (Feb. 27) and will conclude at home against Missouri State (March 1) in the regular-season finale. The Sycamores will then head to St. Louis, Mo., and the Scottrade Center for the 2008 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in hopes of securing a post-season bid.

With three of the first five Valley contests taking place, McKenna hopes his team will get off to a good start to prepare for a grueling middle half of the schedule.

?Having three of the first five games at home should help us get settled,? said McKenna. ?However, we follow that with six of the next eight on the road and have to win at some really tough facilities. Then, we have four out of the last five at home to finish out the regular season. So, the action will definitely come in chunks and we will have some tough challenges ahead of us, especially as good as the Valley has been the past few years. I?m sure this year will be no different.?