HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall athletics released its 2011-12 men's basketball schedule on Wednesday, which revealed that the squad is slated to face 14 teams that advanced to the postseason in the 2010-11 season.
The Herd will play 19 games against teams that were ranked in the RPI's top 107 last season, with nine of those coming in the Henderson Center. A 10th, the annual Capital Classic clash with West Virginia, will be played at the Charleston Civic Center.
After a Nov. 1 exhibition contest with Northern Kentucky, the Herd begins the regular season with three home dates with defending SWAC Champion Alabama State (Friday, Nov. 11), Jacksonville State (Sunday, Nov. 13) and Northwestern State (Saturday, Nov. 19). All three of these games, along with the date at Cincinnati, will be part of the Global Sports Challenge.
The Herd will also face Ohio on Wednesday, Nov. 30 in the Henderson Center.
Following the trip to Syracuse, Marshall will host a three-game stretch with Iona (Sunday, Dec. 11), High Point (Saturday, Dec. 17) and NCAA second round representative Belmont (Monday, Dec. 19). The team will return the Belmont game on Thursday, Dec. 29. Belmont went 30-5 overall last season en route to winning the Atlantic Sun Conference and clinching a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where it fell to Wisconsin in the first round. Sandwiched between those two games will be a Dec. 21 home date with West Virginia Tech. Iona, a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference member from New Rochelle, N.Y., won 25 games a year ago. The Gaels advanced all the way to the CIT Finals, where they fell to Santa Clara, 76-69.
Marshall will also host Akron on New Year's Day, a squad that also made the NCAA's second round. Akron won the Mid-American Conference after going 23-13 last season and advanced to the tournament as a No. 15 seed, where the Zips fell 69-56 to Notre Dame in the round of 64.
This year's Capital Classic, pitting the Herd against West Virginia, will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 18 in the Charleston Civic Center. Marshall won last year's game 75-71. WVU finished 21-12 overall last season, earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Mountaineers defeated Clemson, 84-76 in their first game before falling 71-63 to Kentucky in the round of 32.
"We have worked extremely hard in putting together a quality schedule for this season," said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion. "We will be challenged greatly both in and out of our conference schedule as is evidenced by playing 14 teams that played in the postseason last year. We are excited to play 18 games in the Henderson Center, as I believe our fans deserve the opportunity to see us play against quality opponents in what we have established as a terrific atmosphere for college basketball. We will need to be prepared for the start of Conference USA play on Jan. 4, as the league will be extremely strong and balanced."
The team hits the road for games at UNC Wilmington (Tuesday, Nov. 22) and Cincinnati (Friday, Nov. 25). The Bearcats went 26-9 last season and were seeded sixth in last year's NCAA Tournament. They defeated No. 11 ranked Missouri before falling to eventual champion UConn, 69-58 in the round of 32.