MVC Releases 2012-13 Conference Schedule
Aug. 30, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - With a non-conference schedule that features games against Louisville, Drexel and Dayton, Illinois State men's basketball head coach Dan Muller wanted to prepare his team for a tough Missouri Valley Conference slate. Muller now knows when and where his team will play throughout the conference season, as the MVC officially announced its full 2012-13 schedule Thursday.
The Redbirds will play three of their first five games at home and the longest road swing of the season during conference play will be two games for ISU. Muller was pleased with the way the schedule unfolded and looks forward to seeing what his team can do in the always-competitive MVC.
"The truth about your conference schedule is you have to play all the teams eventually, so it doesn't really matter how it all comes down," Muller stated. "It was nice to see that we don't have a stretch of more than two games on the road at any time on the schedule because three in a row can be tough, but three home games are not preferred either. We like the setup of that and we're excited about play every one of those games in the Valley."
ISU will open up the conference season Sunday, Dec. 30, at Indiana State before returning to Redbird Arena for the conference home-opener against last season's MVC champion Creighton on Wednesday, Jan. 2. The quick two-game homestand will wrap up Saturday, Jan. 5, when Northern Iowa comes to play on Doug Collins Court.
A Jan. 8 road game at Missouri State will follow for the Redbirds, before they come back home to host Drake on Saturday, Jan. 12. ISU will then have a tough, two-game road stretch that will feature games at Wichita State (Jan. 16) and against in-state foe Southern Illinois (Jan. 20). The season series against Indiana State will conclude Wednesday, Jan. 23, when the Sycamores visit Redbird Arena and the January home portion of the schedule will conclude Saturday, Jan. 26, when Evansville comes to Normal, Ill.
Muller believes that the early portion will be challenging for his team, but thinks they will be prepared after a tough non-conference schedule of games.
"What we want to is play our best basketball of the season at the end of the year, but to have the opportunity to play games early in the schedule against teams like Creighton and Wichita State that made the NCAA Tournament last year is good for us," Muller said. "After a non-conference schedule that we believe is very challenging, we think we will be heading into those early conference games confident and ready to play."
The first meeting in the I-74 rivalry with Bradley is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29, in Peoria, Ill. Southern Illinois will then wrap up its series with Illinois State on Saturday, Feb. 2. A pair of road games at Drake (Feb. 6) and at Creighton (Feb. 9) will follow, before the `Birds return home to host Bradley on Feb. 13 and Wichita State Sunday, Feb. 17.
Following a road game at Evansville on Feb. 20 and a Sears BracketBusters game on the road during the weekend of Feb. 22-24, ISU will play its final Valley home game Wednesday, Feb. 27, against Missouri State and will wrap up the conference season Saturday, March 2, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, against Northern Iowa.
Depending on how the conference season plays out, the Redbirds will head to St. Louis and the Scottrade Center for the MVC Tournament, March 7-10, to play for the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
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