2011-2012 WKU men’s basketball schedule released

2011-2012 WKU men's basketball schedule released

Cole Claybourn

The 2011-2012 WKU men’s basketball schedule was released on Wednesday, featuring a home game with a Final Four team for the first time since the 1986-1987 season.

WKU opens its season with two home games, first on Nov. 11 against St. Joseph’s then on Nov. 14 against Tennessee State.

After that, WKU travels to Charleston, S.C., for the Charleston Classic, beginning on Nov. 17 and is guaranteed three games. Their first round opponent is yet to be determined from a field that includes Georgia Tech, Louisiana State, Northwestern, St. Joseph’s, Seton Hall, Tulsa, and VCU.

WKU returns home on Nov. 23 to play 2011 Final Four participant VCU for the first of four straight home games.

In total, WKU will play seven non-conference games at Diddle Arena while playing just three true road games out of conference.

Head coach Ken McDonald said that was done by design.

“Confidence was an issue (last season) because we got beat up so much,” he said. “Now that doesn’t mean because we have home games that we’re guaranteed to win every game. 

“We can’t get in that mindset. We have to understand that it’s going to be a challenge early and we have to accept that challenge.”

Since both St. Joseph’s and VCU are in the Charleston Classic tournament field, WKU said tournament organizers will likely arrange the bracket so that none of them would meet until at least the third day of the tournament.

However, it’s possible that WKU could play St. Joseph’s and VCU twice in non-conference play.

That’s something WKU hasn’t done since the 2001-2002 season when it played Creighton and Austin Peay twice in the same season.

However rare that may be, McDonald said he has no problem with it.

“You play the same team twice in a season – I don’t see the big deal,” McDonald said. “You’ve probably got the same advantages and disadvantages for both teams. They’re quality teams…that’s not a bad thing.”

Other notable non-conference home games for WKU include Murray State on Dec. 1, Bowling Green State on Dec. 4, and a first-time matchup against Furman on Dec. 17.

The game against Murray State will mark the 149th meeting between the two schools. WKU lost 69-60 at Murray State last season, but hold a 97-51 edge in the all-time series and have won 58 out of the 70 games played in Bowling Green.

Notable road games include Southern Illinois on Dec. 7, IUPUI on Dec. 10, and Louisville on Dec. 23.

WKU will be playing in the final game of a four-game series with Louisville before a new series begins next season. WKU won the first game of the series in 2008 in Nashville, but lost the last two, including last season’s game at Diddle Arena, but still hold a 39-35 edge all-time over Louisville.

WKU opens up Sun Belt play on Dec. 29 at Louisiana-Monroe, then returns home for three straight conference games against Florida International, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Troy.

They’ll close out the regular season with two straight home conference games against Arkansas State on Feb. 23 and Middle Tennessee on Feb. 25.

The Sun Belt Tournament is scheduled for March 3-6 in Hot Springs, Ark.

Tip-off times and television information will be released at a later date.