YSU releases "challenging" men's basketball schedule - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

YSU Press Release

YSU releases "challenging" men's basketball schedule

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -  Youngstown State men's basketball Head Coach Jerry Slocum today announced a challenging 2013-14 schedule that features 10 teams that made the postseason last year, eight schools with 20-plus wins and opponents from the ACC, Big East, Conference USA, Atlantic-10, the Mid-American Conference and the Western Athletic Conference.

Those postseason teams combined for an overall record of 219-124 and a winning percentage of .638 in 2012-13.

"This is one of the most challenging schedules we have put together during my time at Youngstown State," Slocum said. "Our non-league opponents are some of the most tradition-rich programs from the top conferences in the country, and playing high-quality teams will keep us focused heading into Horizon League.

"Plus, as a whole, the league is constantly improving so we have to continually get better if we want to reach our team goals."

The Penguins open the campaign at the Kennesaw State Men's Basketball Tournament in Kennesaw, Ga. (Nov. 8-10). During the three-game event, the Penguins will face Kennesaw State Nov. 8, Florida International, who went 18-14, Nov. 9, and Eastern Kentucky, a CIT participant that went 25-10, Nov. 10.

As part of the Kennesaw State Tournament, the Penguins host Warren Wilson, a Division II squad that posted a 19-10 mark last year, in the home opener on Thursday, Nov. 14.

Following the Penguins' first home game is a visit to Atlantic-10 and NIT participant UMass, who went 21-12 last season, on Sunday, Nov. 17. There are several connections between the Penguins and Minutemen, who under the tutelage of former YSU assistant coach Derek Kellogg. Along with Kellogg, former Penguin Marlon Williamson, who played at YSU from 1999-2003, is in his second season as an assistant coach at UMass, and 2000 YSU graduate and former student manager Andy Allison is in his sixth season as the Minutemen's Director of Basketball Operations.

The Penguins return home for two straight games at the Beeghly Center against Thiel, Wednesday, Nov. 20, and Westminster, Saturday, Nov. 23. Following those two contests is a quick trip up I-76 to face Mid-American Conference member Kent State, a 21-win team a season ago, on Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Youngstown State closes out the month of November with a home contest against Austin Peay on Saturday, Nov. 30, and opens the month of December by hosting Robert Morris, a team that went 24-11 and defeated Kentucky in the first round of the NIT, on Wednesday, Dec. 4. The Guins then pack up for a road trip to take on UMKC of the Western Athletic Conference on Saturday, Dec. 7.

After a break for finals week, the Penguins visit new Atlantic Coast Conference member Pittsburgh, Saturday, Dec. 14, before hosting Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Beeghly Center.

The Penguins' final non-league road contest takes them to the Big Apple to take on Big East member St. John's, Saturday, Dec. 21. After a break for the Christmas holiday, the Penguins close out the non-league slate with a home game against South Dakota on Sunday, Dec. 29.

For the fifth straight season, the Penguins begin the Horizon League portion of the slate on the road. This year, the Penguins play three straight away league contests to start the new year at Milwaukee on Jan. 2, at Green Bay on Jan. 4 and at UIC on Jan. 7.

The Penguins follow up with four straight home games against Cleveland State, Jan. 13, Detroit, Jan. 18, Valparaiso, Jan. 23, and Wright State, Jan. 25.

The next three games are on the road at Horizon League newcomer Oakland, Jan. 31, then at Wright State, Feb. 6, and Detroit, Feb. 9.

The Guins have a three-game homestand that features games against Green Bay, Feb. 13, UIC, Feb. 15 and Milwaukee, Feb. 20, at the Beeghly Center.

The final two road games of the season are at Valparaiso, Feb. 22, and at Cleveland State, Feb. 25. The Penguins close out the regular season hosting Oakland, March 1, at the Beeghly Center.

The Horizon League championship begins with first-round games on Tuesday, March 4, and second-round contests on Friday, March 7. The semifinals are Saturday, March 8, and the championship game is set for Tuesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. on ESPN.

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