|ISU men’s basketball finalizes schedule|
|Written by Tony Andracki, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Monday, 07 September 2009 18:28|
After months of scheduling, the Illinois State men’s basketball schedule was announced Sept. 4 for the 2009-10 basketball season.
“We are relieved to finally have our schedule completed,” third-year head coach Tim Jankovich said. “As always, it remains our most challenging and frustrating task.”
The Redbirds, coming off back-to-back NIT-driven seasons, play only four games away from home in the nonconference season.
After hosting Division II Quincy in the preseason, the ‘Birds start the season on the road at Southern-Illinois Edwardsville Nov. 15 before playing seven of their next eight games on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
ISU hosts North Florida (Nov. 21), Norfolk State (Nov. 27), Southeast Missouri State (Nov. 28), St. Bonaventure (Nov. 29), Central Michigan (Dec. 5), Niagara (Dec. 13) and Grambling State (Dec. 22).
“We are very happy to be playing two more nonconference games at home than we did last season,” Jankovich said.
The remaining nonconference games will pin the Redbirds on the road against Illinois-Chicago (Nov. 23), Ohio (Dec. 16) and a Mountain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge against Utah Dec. 19 which is the part of the inaugural Moutain West-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge.
Following the Grambling State game, the ‘Birds will have a week off before tipping off the Valley season against Wichita State. The game will be played at Redbird Arena as ISU plays five of their first eight MVC games at home, including Southern Illinois (Jan. 3), Northern Iowa (Jan. 9), Evansville (Jan. 13) and Creighton (Jan. 20).
The contest against Northern Iowa will air on ESPN2.
As part of the Interstate-74 series, the Redbirds will host Bradley first on Jan. 30 before traveling to Peoria either Feb. 9 or 10 depending on television airing.
To close out their home schedule, Drake comes to town Feb. 6 before Missouri State (Feb. 16 or 17), and Indiana State (Feb. 24) make the trip in.
“I always get asked about the makeup of the Valley schedule,” Jankovich said. “It has always been my philosophy that we have to play everyone twice no matter what and that it is difficult to predict which stretches might be more favorable than others.
“The Valley does a great job of making equitable schedules.”
The Redbirds also host the ESPNU BracketBusters game either Feb. 19 or 20 and head down to partake in the State Farm MVC Tournament March 4-7.