The Stetson men's basketball team opens the 2012-13 season on the road at Miami on Friday. The Hatters and the Hurricanes are scheduled to tip off at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN3 in Coral Gables, Fla.
"I think everybody's excited," Stetson head coach Casey Alexander said of the atmosphere surrounding college basketball this time of the year. "It's been a long time since everybody's played their last game. There's a lot of hard work that goes into getting ready for a season, and we're at the end of preseason where we've had a lot of practices, so if you're a basketball fan or a basketball player, it's a fun time. We're certainly excited."
Stetson will begin its 2012-13 campaign against a Miami team that was selected to finish fourth in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference. The Hurricanes return 10 of 12 lettermen from last season's 20-13 squad that advanced to the second round of the NIT.
"They're a much better opponent than I would want to open the season with," Alexander continued. "They are a legitimate borderline Top 25 team. They're talking about the NCAA Tournament, and they should be. It's rare when you have six returning seniors on a BCS-level team. When you know that they're talented, they have size, and now they have experience as well, it's a tall task for our team."
With a full season under their belts, Alexander, the coaching staff, and the returning players have a much greater level of comfort with each other and with the system put in place, both on and off the court. For this first game of the new season that means new goals.
"What I really want us to do is to play without fear," Alexander said about Friday. "What that means is playing through runs, playing through adversity, and staying committed to playing the game how we want to play it on both ends of the floor. It means not letting circumstance change your mentality. That's what I want to see most of all, because that is a year-long goal of ours."
Fans can catch all the action from Friday night's season-opener by watching live on ESPN3. Live Stats will also be available at HurricaneSports.com, and fans can receive in-game updates by following @StetsonMBB on Twitter. New this season, fans can get Stetson men's basketball scores and news sent straight to their phone by signing up for Hat-Alerts at no charge.