INDIANAPOLIS - The IUPUI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced its men’s basketball schedule for the upcoming 2008-09 season, featuring opponents from the Big Ten, Pac-10, BIG EAST and Atlantic-10 Conferences. In addition, the Jaguars will host two non-conference games at downtown Conseco Fieldhouse and take part in the 2008 Coaches vs. Cancer 2K Sports College Hoops Classic in Carbondale, Ill..
“This is the most difficult schedule we’ve put together since I’ve been here,” IUPUI Head Coach Ron Hunter said. “It’s in our best interest to test our guys early to get them prepared for Summit League play.
“Plus, we’re really excited to get to play two games at Conseco Fieldhouse. It’s a big step for our basketball program and allows us to showcase our program on a bigger stage.”
The Jaguars’, coming off a school record 26 wins a year ago, will open the 2008-09 season as part of the Southern Illinois regional of the 2008 Coaches vs. Cancer field on Nov. 11-12. From there, Hunter’s squad will take on Indiana (11/18) leading up to the home opener on Nov. 22 vs. IU-East.
IUPUI’s two Conseco opponents will be Eastern Illinois (11/25) and Indiana State (12/23). Other notable non-conference games include trips to Seton Hall (12/20) and UMass (12/27), which finished as the NIT runner-up last season. IUPUI has also been invited to take part in the Desert Classic in Phoenix, Ariz. on Dec. 14. That day, Hunter’s squad will play Arizona State in the opener and Gonzaga will play Arizona in the nightcap.
Summit League play begins against Western Illinois on Dec. 6 in The Jungle. The Jags host reigning conference champ Oral Roberts on Jan. 15 and will celebrate Senior Night on Feb. 21 against Oakland.
With the loss of last year’s Summit League Player of the Year George Hill to the NBA Draft, senior guard Gary Patterson (East Chicago, Ind./Bishop Noll) will be IUPUI’s top returning scorer at 12.9 points per game. The 5-foot-10 guard hit 93 threes last season at a nearly 45 percent clip.
Juniors Jon Avery (Mansfield, Ohio/Mansfield Senior/Harmony Prep) and Billy Pettiford (Marion, Ind./Marion) remain important cogs in a beefed up front line this season. Avery was among The Summit League’s top reserves last season, averaging 10.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 63.1 percent from the field. Pettiford netted 8.5 points per game and ranked second on the team in rebounding (5.6 rpg), assists (2.8 apg) and steals (1.27 spg).
Hunter also inked one of the program’s best recruiting classes in recent memory by signing a pair of Indiana All-Stars, a Kentucky All-Star and some JUCO big men. Junior Robert Glenn (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis/Wabash Valley J.C.) brings additional athleticism to the frontcourt and last year’s City Player of the Year Alex Young (Indianapolis, Ind./Northwest) could make an immediate impact with his inside/outside combo skills.
In the backcourt, rookie Larry Stone (Indianapolis, Ind./T.C. Howe) was one of the state’s top playmakers a year ago, ranking second in the IHSAA with 8.0 assists per game.
“Top to bottom, we’ve got a really, really talented team,” Hunter said. “We don’t have that George Hill player that can take over games, but I think one through twelve, we’re really deep. We can come at you a lot of different ways.”
IUPUI’s complete 2008-09 schedule is listed below:
Date Opponent Site Time
Nov. 6 # Univ. of Indianapolis THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 11 Coaches vs. Cancer Carbondale, Ill. tba
Nov. 12 Coaches vs. Cancer Carbondale, Ill. tba
Nov. 18 at Indiana Bloomington, Ind. tba
Nov. 20 Coaches vs. Cancer Finals New York, NY tba
Nov. 21 Coaches vs. Cancer Finals New York, NY tba
Nov. 22 IU East THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 25 Eastern Illinois CONSECO FIELDHOUSE 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 29 at Western Michigan Kalamazoo, Mich. 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 2 IU South Bend THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 6 *Western Illinois THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 14 vs. Arizona State (Desert Classic) Phoenix, Ariz. tba
Dec. 20 at Seton Hall Newark, NJ tba
Dec. 23 Indiana State CONSECO FIELDHOUSE 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 27 at Massachusetts Amherst, Mass. 4:00 p.m.
Dec. 31 *UMKC THE JUNGLE tba
Jan. 2 *Southern Utah THE JUNGLE tba
Jan. 8 *at North Dakota State Fargo, ND tba
Jan. 10 *at South Dakota State Brookings, SD tba
Jan. 15 *Oral Roberts THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 17 *Centenary THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 22 *at Oakland Rochester, Mich. tba
Jan. 24 *at IPFW Fort Wayne, Ind. 4:00 p.m.
Jan. 29 *at Southern Utah Cedar City, Utah 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 31 *at UMKC Kansas City, Mo. 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 5 *South Dakota State THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 7 *North Dakota State THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 12 *at Centenary Shreveport, La. tba
Feb. 14 *at Oral Roberts Tulsa, Okla. 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 19 *IPFW THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 21 *Oakland (Senior Night) THE JUNGLE 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 28 *at Western Illinois Macomb, Ill. tba
Mar. 7-10 Summit League Tournament Sioux Falls, SD tbd
# - denotes exhibition game
* - denotes Summit League game
home games listed in bold