26-game schedule includes Nov. 21 contest vs. Belmont Abbey at the NBA’s Bobcat Arena
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Tusculum College men’s basketball team has released its 2012-13 schedule announced Pioneer head coach Michael Jones. The Pioneers will play a 26-game regular-season schedule, culminating with the 2013 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament. (2012-13 Schedule)
Coach Jones returns six lettermen and two starters from last year’s 11-16 team that posted an 8-10 SAC worksheet to finish tied for fifth place in the league standings. TC finished the year strong winning its last three regular-season games.
The schedule includes an always competitive 18-game South Atlantic Conference schedule and eight non-conference contests. In all, eight of Tusculum’s 26 games will be against opponents that advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament a year ago.
Tusculum will tip-off the regular season on Nov. 14 at defending Conference Carolinas champion King College. The Tornado posted 23-8 record and won both the league regular-season and tournament titles. It will be the 124th recorded meeting (TC leads 62-61) between the East Tennessee rivals. King defeated Tusculum at the Dick Campbell Classic in Jefferson City, Tenn. last season.
On Nov. 16-17, Tusculum will host the 2012 Pioneer Classic as TC welcomes Carson-Newman, Cincinnati Christian and Columbus State. On the first day, Carson-Newman and Columbus will open the Classic, followed by Tusculum and Cincinnati Christian. On day two, C-N will face Cincinnati Christian, while TC will entertain Columbus State in the final game of the weekend.
Tusculum defeated Cincinnati Christian 94-64 in last year’s inaugural encounter. The meeting with Columbus State will be the second time the two programs have met on the hardwood. TC defeated the Cougars in Greeneville during the 2008-09 campaign. CSU posted an 18-12 record last season to advance to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament semifinal, en route to earning an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
On Nov. 21, Tusculum will take on regional foe Belmont Abbey in the first-ever meeting between the Pioneers and the Crusaders. The game will be played the day before Thanksgiving at Bobcat Arena in Charlotte, N.C. at a special tip-off time of 2:15 p.m. Fans purchasing tickets for the TC / Belmont Abbey game will also be admitted to the NBA game against the Charlotte Bobcats and the Toronto Raptors. Advanced tickets will be on sale at both campuses.
Tusculum will also face another first-time opponent on Nov. 25 as the Pioneers travel to Americus, Ga. to take on Georgia Southwestern.
On Nov. 28, Tusculum will open conference play when they host in-state rival Lincoln Memorial at Pioneer Arena. LMU won all three meetings last year en route to posting a 26-6 record to finish runner-up in the conference and advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Tusculum will host Queens University of Charlotte on Dec. 3 at Pioneer Arena. The Royals are playing in their final season in Conference Carolinas before moving to the SAC next year. Queens went 19-10 last season and finished second in the league.
Tusculum will host Georgia Southwestern in a rematch on Dec. 8 to close out the pre-holiday portion of its schedule.
TC will travel to Banner Elk, N.C. on Jan. 2 to face Lees-McRae in the final non-conference game of the regular season. Tusculum won last year’s meeting in Greeneville in a game that was started on Nov. 22, but halted early in the second half due to a ceiling water leak over the basketball court. The game was completed eight days later with a 75-60 Pioneer victory.
The Pioneers return to SAC play on Jan. 5 as they travel to Wingate. The Bulldogs put together a strong postseason charge last year as they finished 21-12 (including two wins over Tusculum) and won the SAC Tournament title to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Pioneers host arch-rival Carson-Newman on Jan. 9. TC split its two meetings with the Eagles last season as C-N went 15-14 and finished tied for fifth place in the SAC standings.
Tusculum will travel to Catawba on Jan. 12 as the Pioneers swept both games with the Indians a year ago. Catawba finished the year with a 9-18 record and finished eighth in the league chase.
Defending SAC champion Anderson comes to Greeneville on Jan. 16. Anderson posted a 26-6 record, including 17-1 in league play to capture the program its first SAC title. The Trojans finished runner-up in the SAC Tournament and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. AU advanced to the Southeast Region final where they were defeated by national runner-up Montevallo.
TC continues its three-game home-stands as they welcome Mars Hill (Jan. 19) and Lenoir-Rhyne (Jan. 23). Mars Hill is coming off a 10th-place finish last season and will have new head coach Rick Scruggs at the helm. The Pioneers and Lions split last year’s two meetings, as did TC and Lenoir-Rhyne. The Bears went 12-16 last year and tied for fifth place in the SAC.
Tusculum will be at Newberry on Jan. 26 as the Wolves will be looking to build upon last year’s 16-12 showing and a fourth-place finish in the league as the two teams split a season ago.
Following a Jan. 30 rematch at LMU, Tusculum returns home to host Brevard on Feb. 2. TC will be at Carson-Newman on Feb. 6, before returning back to Pioneer Arena on Feb. 9 to host Wingate.
Tusculum travels to Anderson on Feb. 13 and will host Catawba on Feb. 16. Back-to-back road outings as the Pioneers are at Lenoir-Rhyne (Feb. 20) and Mars Hill (Feb. 23) before returning home to face Newberry on Feb. 27. TC will close out the regular season at Brevard on Mar. 2.
The Food Lion SAC Tournament begins on March 6 with quarterfinal round games slated at campus sites. The semifinal and final of the Food Lion SAC Tournament will be held Mar. 9-10 at Timmons Arena on the campus of Furman University in Greenville, S.C. The winner of the SAC Tournament will earn the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
The NCAA Southeast Regional will be held March 16-19 at a campus site, with the winner advancing to Louisville, Ky. for the national quarterfinal and semifinal rounds at historic Freedom Hall (March 27-28). The Division II national championship game will be played Apr. 7 in Atlanta, Ga.
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