Head Coach Casey Alexander and the Stetson men's basketball
coaching staff announced the team's 2012-13 schedule on Monday. A challenging slate highlighted by seven
opponents that saw postseason action after the conference tournaments last
year, including NCAA Tournament Third Round competitors USF and VCU, the
Hatters will use the stiff competition to prepare for a postseason run of their own this March.
"This year's schedule will be a challenge, yet it also
presents some great opportunities for our team," Alexander said. "The objective is to accept the challenge and
use these 29 regular season games as preparation for a successful postseason
run in March."
Stetson begins the year on the road at Miami on November 9. The Hurricanes finished 20-13 a year ago,
advanced to the Second Round of the NIT, and had big wins over #15 Florida State and #5 Duke. Stetson returns to action against Miami after last season
halted a streak of eight straight seasons of playing the Hurricanes.
A trio of home contests against Florida A&M (Nov. 13), Southeastern
(Nov. 19), and USF (Nov. 26) will be next up for Stetson. The Hatters defeated Florida A&M last
season, and the Rattlers went on to be eliminated by soon-to-be Cinderella Norfolk State
in the MEAC Semifinals later in the 2011-12 campaign. Southeastern went 19-14 in NAIA competition
last season, finishing the year with a run in the National Christian Colleges
Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Region Tournament.
USF of the Big East Conference will be traveling to DeLand
to take on the Hatters this season, the first game between the two teams since
2007. After key wins over #24 Seton Hall
and #18 Louisville during the 2011-12 regular
season, the Bulls advanced to the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament,
eventually falling to Ohio.
"I have to say how grateful I am to Stan Heath for bringing
his Big East team to the Edmund
said. "Home and home scheduling against
a BCS opponent is difficult to accomplish, so I hope Hatter fans will make the
most of our opportunity to host USF."
The road doesn't get much easier after that, as Stetson hits
the road to play at another NCAA Tournament team from a year ago, Virginia Commonwealth. Following a majestic Final Four run in 2011,
last year's Rams won the CAA Championship, and upset #5 Wichita State
to advance to the Third Round of the NCAA Championships. The November 28 game will mark the first
meeting between these two programs.
An away tilt at Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 3) and a pair of home
games against Florida Atlantic (Dec. 6) and Florida International (Dec. 9) are
next on the schedule before the Hatters head back to Virginia
to play at Richmond
on December 15. The Spiders, who were
the A-10 champs and advanced to the NCAA Third Round in 2011, haven't squared
off against Stetson since 1982.
Games at Florida Atlantic (Dec. 18) and UCF (Dec. 21) close out the
non-conference schedule, before the Hatters open up Atlantic Sun Conference
play at Mercer on New Year's Eve. The
2012 CollegeInsider.com Tournament Champions will make a return trip to DeLand,
ending the regular season on March 2.
The regular slate of conference action is on tap with mainly
Thursday and Saturday contests in 2012-13.
Belmont left the league for the Ohio
Valley Conference, while Northern Kentucky
joined the A-Sun for its first season of Division I play. Stetson will play away and home games against
all nine A-Sun opponents (Mercer, UNF, Jacksonville,
NKU, Lipscomb, USC Upstate, ETSU, FGCU, and Kennesaw State).
"Even with Belmont's
departure to the OVC, I expect our conference to be as strong as it has ever
been," Alexander said. "With so many
teams returning a large percentage of their roster, we can expect a real battle
in the conference race. Our objective is
to take the next step for our program and align ourselves with the best in the