Morehead St. releases men's basketball schedule

MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Morehead State has finalized its 2014-15 men's basketball schedule. The 31-game slate features 10 dates against postseason teams from a year ago, including Big Ten Conference member Ohio State and American Athletic Conference opponent Cincinnati.

"We are excited about the upcoming season," Head Coach Sean Woods said. "As always, our schedule is pretty tough. It will be very challenging, but it's great for us. We need to be battle tested going into Ohio Valley Conference play, as well as a possible run in March."

Game times and home event promotions will be announced via in the near future.

Morehead State will host 13 regular-season games at Johnson Arena, including dates with Southern Conference school East Tennessee State (Dec. 1), Horizon League foe Oakland (Dec. 6) and Atlantic Sun Conference member Northern Kentucky (Dec. 19).

In non-conference action, the Eagles will take on 2014 postseason squads Cincinnati (Nov. 19), Louisiana Tech (Nov. 21), American (Nov. 22), Ohio State (Dec. 13) and Green Bay (Dec. 17). Ohio State has been to six consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Morehead State will travel to Ruston, La., to compete in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Eagles will square off with Presbyterian (Nov. 23) after facing the host Bulldogs and American. MSU will also visit regional rival Marshall (Nov. 26) and UAB (Dec. 4) before OVC play. It will be the 96th meeting with the Thundering Herd in a series that began during the 1939-40 season.

"One benefit of having a schedule as tough as ours is playing against top-level teams and their different styles of play," Woods said. "Every night in our conference is a dog fight, so our team needs to be consistently challenged. Playing programs like UNLV, Cincinnati, Louisiana Tech, Ohio State, Green Bay and several others, in hostile environments, will prepare us well."

The OVC slate will continue to feature 16 games. Morehead State opens league play at home against Murray State (Jan. 3), followed by road affairs at Southeast Missouri (Jan. 8) and UT Martin (Jan.10). The Racers captured the 2014 Tournament championship.

"The OVC may be more challenging than ever this year," Woods said. "Eastern Kentucky is coming off an NCAA Tournament run and Murray State returns several players from its CIT championship team. We also have Belmont, which has consistently been at the top of our league, as well as a host of others who are expecting to play at a high level this year."

The conference features two six-team divisions. Morehead State plays its own division, the East, two times each. The Eagles face the opposite division, the West, just once each season.

East Division members Belmont and Eastern Kentucky both enjoyed postseason play in 2014. The Colonels won the OVC Tournament and participated in the NCAA Tournament.

"As far as our guys, I love who we have right now," Woods said. "We have a great group of returnees and some talented new guys. We had a very productive August trip in the Bahamas, where we built some team chemistry and set the tone for the year. It also helps to have a team full of experience, with several seniors in our program."

Morehead State opens the season Nov. 5 with a home exhibition against NAIA member St. Catharine (Ky.). The Eagles, who posted a 20-14 overall record and 10-6 league mark last season, enjoyed a postseason berth in the College Basketball Invitational.

"This schedule took longer than normal to complete, but it does a lot for us in terms of preparation this season and sets up exciting future slates too," Director of Athletics Brian Hutchinson added. "Our student-athletes will be challenged during non-conference play, but that will get them ready for what should be a very competitive league schedule."

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