CINCINNATI --- The Xavier University men's basketball team, which has made six straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and 10 in the last 11 years, announced its 2011-12 schedule today. The list includes 20 potential opponents that made 2011 postseason play, a list that includes 11 teams that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament field.
Xavier third-year head coach Chris Mack, the 2010-11 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year, returns three starters and a talented cast around them. Senior Tu Holloway, a consensus 2010-11 Third Team All-American and the 2010-11 Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, is back along with two other players who received 2011 All-Atlantic 10 honors: senior Kenny Frease and junior Mark Lyons. The Musketeers have been picked anywhere from No. 10 to No. 20 in the early national expert predictions.
"This schedule comes from the mind set we have at Xavier," said Mack, "which is that we want to be the best, and we want to challenge ourselves as often as we can against the best teams in the country."
XU also announced 21 of its television opportunities for this season, a list that includes 12 games on the ESPN family of networks, four national games on the CBS Sports Network (formerly CBS College Sports Network) and five games on CBS Sports Regional Networks. The complete schedule of games on FOX Sports Ohio, Xavier's television partner, will be announced at a later date.
Xavier's early-season schedule is loaded and it starts with an exhibition game against the defending NCAA Division II National Champion, Bellarmine, on Saturday, November 5. Xavier opens the regular season with a four-game homestand starting on Friday, November 11 (or 11-11-11 if you prefer), against Morgan State. The four-game stretch includes local rival Miami (Ohio) and concludes on Friday, November 25 against Georgia, a 2011 NCAA team and the first of two straight against SEC competition. XU visits preseason top 10 foe Vanderbilt on Monday, November 28, to close out the November schedule.
December begins with three straight NCAA Tournament teams, including home games against Purdue on Saturday, December 3, and the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout against Cincinnati on Saturday, December 10. Sandwiched in between is a game on Wednesday, December 7 at Butler, which has been the National Runner-up each of the last two seasons.
The December schedule ends as impressively as it begins with a trip to the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic for three games against a field that includes five other teams that made 2011 postseason play. XU returns home and hosts Gonzaga for an 8:00 p.m. game on New Year's Eve at Cintas Center.
The last of Xavier's impressive non-conference challenges will come during the middle of the Atlantic 10 Conference season when XU visits preseason top 10 foe Memphis on Saturday, February 4.
Xavier, which has won at least a share of five straight Atlantic 10 Conference Regular Season Championships, opens A-10 play at La Salle on Wednesday, January 4. Xavier travels to Temple on Saturday, February 11, and hosts Richmond on Saturday, February 25, in games against the other A-10 squads that made the 2011 NCAA field. XU brings a 40-game Atlantic 10 Conference home winning streak into this season.
The impressive home schedule of 17 games, including 16 regular season tilts, is particularly attractive to potential ticket buyers since 12 of the home games are on the weekend (three on Friday, eight on Saturday and one on Sunday). Season tickets are now on sale. Fans can go to GoXavier.com for more details or call the Xavier athletic ticket office at 513-745-3411.
The complete list of television coverage and game times will be announced at a later date.
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