- Behind The Scenes
OXFORD, Miss. (WCBI/Ole Miss Athletics) -- College basketball action is right around the corner, and Ole Miss' men's hoops schedule announced by head coach Andy Kennedy on Friday is packed with exciting matchups for fans.
The Rebels' non-conference schedule features four teams that won 20 games or more last season and five squads that reached postseason play. In SEC play, Ole Miss faces eight teams that advanced to the postseason, including a primetime Tuesday night matchup in Tad Smith Coliseum against defending national champion Kentucky on ESPN.
A minimum of 12 contests will be featured on national television, and at least nine more are slated for live regional TV coverage. Every league game will be televised live.
Ole Miss will also make a holiday trip to Hawaii for the 2012 Diamond Head Classic Dec. 22-25 at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu. The Rebels face Indiana State in the first round on Dec. 22, and would advance to face the winner between San Diego State and San Francisco on Dec. 23 if they won. Potential championship-game opponents on Dec. 25 include Arizona, ETSU, Miami or Hawaii. The trip also marks Ole Miss' first games in Hawaii since the 2000-01 season.
"We are excited about the opportunity to participate in the Diamond Head Classic," said Kennedy. "Starting with our opening round opponent in Indiana State, this ESPN tournament is filled with high-level competition."
Ole Miss will host a total of 17 regular-season games in Oxford, including eight non-conference games. Following an exhibition contest versus Montevallo on Nov. 5, the Rebels will open the 2012-13 campaign against 2012 NCAA participant Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 9. That marks the start of a six-game home stand that includes Coastal Carolina (Nov. 13), Arkansas-Little Rock (Nov. 16), McNeese State (Nov. 20) and Lipscomb (Nov. 23). Ole Miss closes out the home stand with a SEC/Big East Challenge matchup against Rutgers on Dec. 1.
"Our non-conference schedule is set up to prepare us for the rigors of SEC play," said Kennedy. "Each team we face will bring a different style of play that will challenge our team in a variety of ways."
The Rebels will hit the road for a game at Middle Tennessee State, who won 27 games and reached the NIT Quarterfinals a year ago, on Dec. 8 before hosting East Tennessee State on Dec. 14. Ole Miss will face Loyola-Marymount in Los Angeles on the trip out to Hawaii on Dec. 19 before closing out the non-conference slate by hosting Fordham on Jan. 4.
With the addition of two new members - Missouri and Texas A&M - to the league, the SEC schedule has increased from 16 to 18 games, with each team playing five home-and-home games, four home games and four road games. The Rebels five home-and-home opponents this season are Auburn, Mississippi State, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
Ole Miss opens the 2013 SEC schedule at Tennessee on Jan. 9 (SEC Network), which marks the 12th time in the last 15 years the Rebels will open conference play on the road.
In addition to the matchup against the defending national champion Wildcats (Jan. 26), the Rebels open their home league schedule with one of the SEC's newest members - the Missouri Tigers - on Jan. 12 (FSN). Ole Miss will host back-to-back home games against Arkansas (Jan. 19, SEC Network) and Tennessee (Jan. 24, ESPN/2) before the `Cats come calling. An in-state battle against Mississippi State (Feb. 6, CSS) opens the month of February, in which the Rebels also host Georgia (Feb. 16, ESPN2), Auburn (Feb. 23, FSN) and Texas A&M (Feb. 27, ESPN3). Ole Miss will close out its' 2013 home schedule on March 5 against Alabama (ESPNU).
"We play in one of the toughest leagues in America and it only gets better this year with the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M," said Kennedy. "Each and every night is a battle - that's life in the SEC."
The Rebels will also make in-conference trips to Vanderbilt (Jan. 15, ESPNU), Auburn (Jan. 26, FSN), Florida (Feb. 2, ESPNU), Missouri (Feb. 9, CBS), Texas A&M (Feb. 13, ESPN3), South Carolina (Feb. 20, CSS), Mississippi State (March 2, FSN) and LSU (March 9, SEC Network).
The SEC Basketball Tournament will be played March 13-17 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The semifinals and championship game will be broadcast on ESPN on ABC, while the SEC Network will televise the tournament games on Wednesday and Thursday in addition to the Friday night games. ESPNU will televise the two afternoon games on Friday at the tournament which this year.
For ticket information for the 2012-13 hoops season, call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).