JACKSONVILLE – The Jacksonville State men's basketball team will play 14 games in Pete Mathews Coliseum in 2012-13, a slate that includes eight Ohio Valley Conference games and six non-conference opponents.
The Gamecocks, who return four starters and seven letterwinners off of a team that advanced to the second round of last year's OVC Tournament, will see a lot of their home court early. They play a pair of exhibitions before hosting the first three games of the regular season in The Pete.
In the first year of divisional play in the OVC, JSU will host each member of its East Division, while half of the West Division pays a visit to Jacksonville. The Gamecocks' East foes include new member Belmont on Jan. 3, a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament as the champion of the Atlantic Sun.
JSU will host East Division opponents Tennessee Tech on Dec. 29, Tennessee State on Jan. 5, Eastern Kentucky on Jan. 19 and Morehead State on Feb. 2.
Out of the West Division, defending league champion Murray State will visit Pete Mathews Coliseum on Jan. 26. The Racers finished the 2011-12 season with a 31-2 record and ranked 16th in the final coaches poll. Austin Peay, who the Gamecocks upended in the first round of the OVC Tournament, will come to JSU for a rematch on Jan. 24, while Southeast Missouri will wind up JSU's home schedule on Feb. 20.
JSU will host William Carey (Nov. 1) and West Georgia (Nov. 5) in exhibition games before opening the season on Nov. 9 against Reinhardt. Two days later on Nov. 11, Eastern Michigan returns its 2011 BracketBuster matchup, and Alabama A&M pays a visit on Nov. 15 before the Gamecocks take to the road for nearly a month.
The non-conference road schedule features some big names, including trips to UNLV (Nov. 17) and Oregon (Nov. 19), as well as a visit to Nebraska (Dec. 18). The Gamecocks will also travel to Alcorn State on Dec. 1 and Presbyterian on Dec. 15, the return trip for last year's BracketBuster game at Pete Mathews Coliseum.
The Gamecocks finished the 2011-12 season on a roll, winning nine of their last 13 games. Junior Brian Williams and senior Tarvin Gaines are back after scoring double figures a year ago, as is sophomore Darion Rackley after a freshman season that saw him average 12.1 points in the final 13 games.