RICHMOND – Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team will open the 2012-13 season with seven straight home games, head coach Jeff Neubauer announced today. The first four games of the season will be part of the Comfort Suites Invitational.
The Comfort Suites Invitational will feature nine games among five teams over six days. The event begins on Nov. 9 when Eastern hosts Cincinnati Christian. Cincinnati Christian then plays at Radford on Nov. 12. All five teams come to McBrayer Arena for seven games over four days, Nov. 16-19. The Colonels will play Kennesaw State on Friday, Towson on Saturday and Radford on Sunday.
“Our November schedule resembles that of an SEC or Big East team with all of our games being played in McBrayer Arena,” Neubauer said. “This is the first time in 100 years that EKU basketball has started the season with seven straight at home. We know that our team will be growing together during our early experiences.”
EKU will play 16 games at home and 15 on the road. The Colonels have posted winning records at home in each of the last 11 seasons. They have won 11 or more at home six times during that span.
Eastern will wrap up November with home games against Norfolk State and Delaware State on Nov. 24 and 28. The seven-game home stretch ends on Dec. 1 against Western Carolina.
After seven straight home games, the Colonels will conclude the 2012 calendar year with six consecutive road contests, including games at Illinois on Dec. 16 and West Virginia on Dec. 30.
The new-look Ohio Valley Conference schedule begins with home games against Eastern Illinois and Southern Illinois Edwardsville on Jan. 3 and 5. With the addition of Belmont in 2012-13, the league will split into two divisions. Eastern Kentucky will play two games each against teams in its division – Morehead State, Jacksonville State, Belmont, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech. The Colonels will face teams from the other division – Murray State, SIU Edwardsville, Eastern Illinois, Southeast Missouri, Tennessee-Martin and Austin Peay – once. The games against SIUE, EIU and APSU will be at home.
“With the addition of Belmont to the OVC, the conference will be better than it has been during my eight years at EKU,” Neubauer said. “I have said that for three straight years and the league continues to improve.”
Eastern’s first conference game against Belmont will be in Nashville on Jan. 17. The Bruins come to Richmond on Jan. 26. The series between the two teams is tied 1-1, with the last meeting coming at Belmont on Nov. 20, 1999. Rival Morehead State makes its annual visit to McBrayer Arena on Jan. 12. The Colonels return to Johnson Arena on Feb. 9.
Senior Day and the final home game of the regular season will fall on Feb. 20 against Austin Peay. The regular season concludes on March 2 at Tennessee State. The OVC tournament is slated for March 6-9 at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville.
Eastern Kentucky finished the 2011-12 season with a 16-16 record and a 7-9 mark in the OVC. Two starters and a total of eight letter winners return for the 2012-13 season.