A total of five teams that advanced to postseason play in 2012 highlight the 2012-13 men’s basketball schedule that was announced by second-year head coach Lewis Preston. The Owls will play nine of 12 non-conference games on the road, including six of their first eight.
Kennesaw State will be tested early as it travels to Knoxville, Tenn. to open its season against the University of Tennessee at Thompson-Boling Arena on Nov. 9. The Volunteers posted a 19-15 overall record, tied for second in the Southeastern Conference and advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament.
The schedule also features a pair of road games against Big East stalwarts Notre Dame (Dec. 19) and Pittsburgh (Dec. 23). The Fighting Irish went 22-12 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, while the Panthers recorded a 22-17 mark and won the College Basketball Invitational Tournament.
Both Notre Dame and Pittsburgh will be familiar opponents for Preston, who spent six seasons (2000-06) as an assistant coach for the Irish, and three years (2008-11) on the coaching staff at Penn State.
"I am excited about our non-conference schedule," Preston said. "Having the opportunity to play quality opponents from the SEC, Big East Conference, Atlantic-10 Conference and Southern Conference will help us in preparation for our conference schedule.
"My philosophy on scheduling is to put together a schedule that is challenging, yet gives us an opportunity to be successful and builds confidence as we move into our conference schedule," Preston added.
Following their season opener at Tennessee, the Owls will visit South Carolina State on Nov. 12 before taking part in the Eastern Kentucky Tournament, Nov. 16-18, in Richmond, Ky. In addition to Kennesaw State and Eastern Kentucky, the field also includes Towson and Radford.
The Owls will make their regular-season home debut on Nov. 21 when they face Georgia Southern before hosting the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Nov. 24. After a road contest against at the University of Tennessee at Martin on Dec. 1, Kennesaw State plays its final non-conference home against Charlotte on Dec. 16.
The non-conference schedule concludes with road contests at Notre Dame on Dec. 19, a visit to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne on Dec. 21 followed by a trip to Pittsburgh.
The Owls’ non-conference schedule includes three teams (Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Tennessee) that posted winning records during the 2011-12 season.
Kennesaw State begins its 18-game Atlantic Sun Conference schedule on Monday, Dec. 30, when it hosts Stetson. It marks the first of three straight home games to begin conference play. The Owls will take on Florida Gulf Coast on Jan. 2 before welcoming in-state rival Mercer on Jan. 5.
The Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament is slated for Mar. 6-9 at The University Center in Macon.
Highlighting the A-Sun Conference schedule will be rival Mercer, which captured the 2012 CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) and USC Upstate, which posted a first-round win in the CIT. The Bears finished last season with a 27-8 overall record, while the Spartans concluded the year 21-13.
The 2012-13 season marks the second for Preston, who took over the KSU program in April of 2011 and endured a challenging first year. The Owls are expected to be much improved during the upcoming season as Preston welcomes seven new recruits, including a pair of highly-touted players from Auburn University.
Guards Markeith Cummings and Delbert Love highlight a group of five players returning to the Kennesaw State roster. Cummings earned second-team All-Atlantic Sun Conference honors after averaging a team-leading 15.4 points and a 5.3 rebounds a game. Love was named to the A-Sun All-Conference team after contributing 12.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists a contest.
Kennesaw State will make its 2012-13 debut with a home exhibition against Piedmont College on Oct. 30 in the KSU Convocation Center.
Season tickets are now available for the Owls' 11-game home schedule and can be purchased by contacting the Kennesaw State Athletics Ticket Office at (770) 423-OWLS (6957) or logging on to ksuowls.com.