LEBANON — McKendree University has released its 2013-14 men's basketball schedule, and it includes a pair of preseason exhibition contests against NCAA Division I programs.
The two exhibition games will comprise the Bearcats' pre-season slate in late October. McKendree will tip off its season Oct. 24 at the University of Illinois. This will mark the first visit for McKendree head coach Harry Statham's club to Champaign-Urbana, and tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. Tickets for the game at Illinois will be available for purchase through the McKendree athletic department at a discounted rate.
Three days later - on Oct. 27 - McKendree will head to Springfield, Mo., for a matchup with Missouri State University. The Bears are coached by former Wesclin High School standout Paul Lusk.
"We're excited about these two games on our schedule," said Statham, who will begin his 48th season as the men's basketball coach at McKendree and is the all-time wins leader in men's college basketball history with 1,068 victories. "It is great exposure for our program and a great challenge to go up against two established (NCAA) Division I programs. This will help our program tremendously and is exciting not only for our players, but our fans and all those who support our program."
McKendree will play 15 home games in 2013-14, beginning with the season opener on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 3 p.m. against Fontbonne University. That contest marks the beginning of the Bearcats' eight-game non-conference slate. That segment of the schedule will include home-and-home series with Lincoln University (Nov. 20 in Jefferson City, Mo., and Nov. 23 in Lebanon) and Trevecca Nazarene University (Nov. 30 in Nashville, Tenn., and Dec. 16 in Lebanon).
Year two of Great Lakes Valley Conference play for McKendree will begin on Jan. 3, 2014 with a game against the University of Missouri-St. Louis at the Harry M. Statham Sports Center. That marks the first of nine GLVC home contests for the Bearcats, who will have 18 league games once again. The highlight of the conference home slate will be a February 6 game in the Statham Center against Drury University, which is the defending NCAA Division II national champion. The Panthers won their final 23 games of the 2012-13 season and finished the year with a record of 31-4.
The GLVC scheduling format has changed to "pod scheduling" for 2013-14, which means that each of the conference's 16 members have been placed into a four-team pod. The Bearcats' pod includes McKendree, the University of Illinois Springfield, Lewis University and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. McKendree will face each team in its pod in a home-and-home series during GLVC play, while the Bearcats will face the remaining 12 conference schools once during the conference schedule.
In addition to the other three teams in the pod, McKendree will play host to Missouri-St. Louis, Maryville University (Jan. 5), Saint Joseph's College (Jan. 23), the University of Indianapolis (Jan. 25) and Missouri S & T (Feb. 8). The Bearcats will have a five-game home stand in a 10-day span during the GLVC season, beginning with a Jan. 16 contest against Lewis University and wrapping up with the Jan. 25 match-up with Indianapolis.
"We're up for the challenge," said Statham about the Bearcats' 26-game schedule. "I think this will be an exciting year for our team and we can't wait to get started."
McKendree will be on the road for its final five games of the regular season, closing out the year with a Feb. 27 game at Illinois Springfield. The opening round of the 2014 GLVC Tournament is set for March 2 at campus sites, with the quarterfinals through championship contest slated for March 6-9 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind.
Tickets for all McKendree home basketball games can be purchased online at www.mckbearcats.com/tickets. For information about season tickets, please call the McKendree University athletics department at 618-537-6873.
2013-14 Men's Basketball Schedule
Home Games in CAPS
* -- Great Lakes Valley Conference game
Date Opponent Time
Oct. 24 University of Illinois (Exhibition) -- Champaign-Urbana, IL 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 Missouri State University (Exhibition) -- Springfield, MO 3 p.m.
Nov. 9 FONTBONNE UNIVERSITY 3 p.m.
Nov. 12 INDIANA DABNEY UNIVERSITY 7 p.m.
Nov. 20 at Lincoln University -- Jefferson City, Mo. 5:30 p.m.
Nov. 23 LINCOLN UNIVERSITY 3 p.m.
Nov. 30 at Trevecca Nazarene University -- Nashville, Tenn. 3 p.m.
Dec. 10 ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY-SPRINGFIELD 7 p.m.
Dec. 16 TREVECCA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY 7 p.m.
Dec. 20 BENEDICTINE UNIVERSITY-SPRINGFIELD 7 p.m.
Jan. 3 UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS* 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 5 MARYVILLE UNIVERSITY* 3 p.m.
Jan. 9 at Quincy University* -- Quincy 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 11 at Truman State University* -- Kirksville, Mo. 3 p.m.
Jan. 16 LEWIS UNIVERSITY* 7:30 p.m.
Jan.. 18 UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-PARKSIDE* 3 p.m.
Jan. 20 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS SPRINGFIELD* 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23 SAINT JOSEPH'S COLLEGE* 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 25 UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS* 3 p.m.
Jan. 30 at Bellarmine University* -- Louisville, Ky. 7 p.m.
Feb. 1 at University of Southern Indiana* -- Evansville, Ind. 3:15 p.m.
Feb. 6 DRURY UNIVERSITY* 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 MISSOURI S & T* 3 p.m.
Feb. 13 at William Jewell College* -- Liberty, Mo. 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 15 at Rockhurst University* -- Kansas City, Mo. 3 p.m.
Feb. 20 at University of Wisconsin-Parkside* -- Kenosha, Wi. 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 22 at Lewis University* -- Romeoville 3 p.m.
Feb. 27 at University of Illinois Springfield* -- Springfield 7:30 p.m.
March 2 Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament -- Opening Round
March 6-9 Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament -- Evansville, Ind.