The road back to the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship has been set for the 2012-13 University of Saint Mary men’s basketball team as the squad’s basketball schedule was released this week.
Head coach Jon Bishop’s squad, coming off a NAIA National Tournament appearance and program best 25-6 record last year, will begin the new season at home. The contest will be an exhibition against Livin’ The Dream inside the Ryan Sports Center at 7 p.m. Oct. 25.
The Spires will then travel to take on Johnson & Wales University in Denver for its first regular season contest two days later at 5 p.m.
The beginning of the season will see the Spires hit the road for its first five games, ending the trip with the KCAC-HAAC Classic on Nov. 9-10 where USM will face Baker University and Peru State College. After taking on NCAA Division I member University of Nebraska-Omaha, Bishop’s team will then return to the friendly confines of the Ryan Sports Center for a three-game stretch that includes the College of the Ozarks and rival Benedictine College.
“We have taken great pride in playing a tough schedule every year that I have been at Saint Mary and this season is going to be no different,” Bishop said. “The teams we have scheduled this year are going to help prepare us to be ready to battle each and every night.”
Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play will begin on Nov. 29 when the Spires travel to Bethel College. The team’s conference home opener will follow a week later as Kansas Wesleyan visits on Dec. 6.
“I felt with so many returners coming back from last year’s team that we could go on the road a little more this year and help prepare us for conference play down the road,” said the fifth-year head coach of the Spires. “I’m hoping our returners, mixed in with the recruiting class our staff has brought in, can handle it and get our team back to the national tournament in Branson.”
The Spires will play at home 14 times this year, not including any possible conference tournament games it might host. The KCAC playoffs begin on Feb. 20.
For a complete list of the 2012-13 Spire men’s schedule and roster go to gospires.com.