Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Auburn announces basketball schedule

AUBURN - Auburn announced the men's basketball schedule for the coming season, which is highlighted by participation in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Class and the Big East-SEC Challenge

Auburn has the possibility of playing 19 games against 2011 postseason tournament teams, including nine who played in the NCAA Tournament and 10 in the NIT.

The Tigers have back-to-back games against Big East Conference teams at Seton Hall in Newark’s (N.J.) Prudential Center in the Big East-SEC Challenge on Dec. 2 and vs. South Florida in Auburn Arena on Dec. 14.

Auburn closes out its non-conference schedule on Jan. 4 at Florida State, a NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 participant last season that Auburn defeated 65-60 in Auburn Arena.

Auburn will play seven 2011 postseason opponents at Auburn Arena against NCAA teams Kentucky on Jan. 11 and Georgia on Feb. 1 and NIT teams in McNeese State in the season opener on Nov. 11, Alabama on Feb. 7, Mississippi State on Feb. 18, Ole Miss on Jan. 14 and Bethune-Cookman on Jan. 2.

“Like I said last year, you have to build your schedule to where you think your team or program is in its building stage,” said Auburn coach Tony Barbee. “Obviously last year, we had some contests against some higher quality teams but not an abundance of them. This year, I think you see the natural progression of the team which leads to the natural progression of the schedule. We have a renewed series with Florida State that we start down there. They are a team that should have been in last year’s Final Four, a team that was a Sweet 16 team and has a lot of talented players coming back.

During a one-week span in early January, Auburn plays three straight games against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams at Florida State on Jan. 4, at Vanderbilt in the SEC opener on Jan. 7 and vs. Kentucky in the Tigers’ league home opener on Jan. 11.

Auburn’s other road games against last season’s NCAA Tournament teams are Tennessee on Jan. 28 and Florida on Feb. 21 while the Tigers have the possibility of playing NCAA teams Xavier, Kansas State and Clemson and NIT teams Long Beach State and UTEP in the three-game Diamond Head Classic Dec. 22-25 that is televised by ESPN2 and ESPNU. Auburn also plays at NIT teams in Alabama on Feb. 29 and Ole Miss on Feb. 11.

“I’m excited about the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii with an outstanding field of multiple NCAA Tournament teams in the field with Clemson, Xavier and Kansas State,” said Barbee. “You are talking multiple NCAA Tournament teams which is something we aspire to be. To get there, you have to play teams like that so you know where you stand and hopefully come out on top in more than your fair share of them.”

Auburn plays its first four games at home beginning with McNeese State in the season opener on Nov. 11. After the SEC opener at Vanderbilt, the Tigers play three of four games at home in Kentucky, Ole Miss, at LSU and South Carolina.

Auburn is then on the road for three of the next four beginning at Arkansas on Jan. 25, at Tennessee, Georgia and at Mississippi State. The Tigers finish the season alternating home and away games vs. Alabama, at Ole Miss, vs. Mississippi State, at Florida, vs. Arkansas, at Alabama and vs. LSU on CBS in the regular season finale on March 3.

The SEC Tournament is in the New Orleans (La.) Arena March 8-11. At least 21 of Auburn’s game will be televised.

2011-12 AUBURN BASKETBALL SCHEDULE (all times Central)

Nov. 11 McNeese State, 7 pm

Nov. 14 Kennesaw State, 7 pm

Nov. 25 Nicholls State, 7 pm

Nov. 28 Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 7 pm

Dec. 2 (1) at Seton Hall (ESPNU), 8 pm

Dec. 14 South Florida, 8 pm

Dec. 17 North Florida, 7 pm

Dec. 19 Florida A&M, 7 pm

Dec. 22 (2) at Hawaii (ESPNU), tba

Dec. 23 (2) Xavier/Long Beach State (ESPN2/ESPNU), 11 pm/1:30 am

Dec. 25 (2) Kansas State/Clemson/UTEP/Southern Illinois (ESPN2/ESPNU), tba

Dec. 30 Georgia Southern, 7 pm

Jan. 2 Bethune-Cookman, 7 pm

Jan. 4 at Florida State, 6 pm

Jan. 7 at Vanderbilt (SECN), 12:30 pm

Jan. 11 Kentucky (SECN), 7 pm

Jan. 14 Ole Miss (SECN), 12:30 pm

Jan. 17 at LSU (ESPNU), 6 pm

Jan. 21 South Carolina (SECN), 12:30 pm

Jan. 25 at Arkansas (CSS), 8 pm

Jan. 28 at Tennessee (ESPN2), tba

Feb. 1 Georgia (SECN), 7 pm

Feb. 4 at Mississippi State (SECN), 3 pm

Feb. 7 Alabama (ESPNU), 8 pm

Feb. 11 at Ole Miss (FSN), 6 pm

Feb. 18 Mississippi State (FSN), 7 pm

Feb. 21 at Florida (ESPNU), 6 pm

Feb. 25 Arkansas (SECN), 3 pm

Feb. 29 at Alabama (SECN), 7 pm

Mar. 3 LSU (CBS), 1 pm

Mar. 8-11 (3) SEC Tournament (SEC Net/ABC), tba

(1) Big East-SEC Challenge (Newark, NJ – Prudential Center)

(2) Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu, HI – Stan Sheriff Center)

(3) SEC Tournament (New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Arena)

* All Times Central

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