Toledo Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk announced the Rockets' 2013-14 men's basketball schedule on Tuesday. Highlighting UT's slate will be a trip to national power Kansas in addition to nine more contests against teams that qualified for 2013 postseason play.
Following its home opener vs. Northwestern Ohio (Nov. 9), the Rockets will visit Atlantic Coast Conference foe Boston College (Nov. 14) as part of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. UT will then host Florida A&M (Nov. 18) before heading to Detroit's Calihan Hall for a 2K Sports Classic Sub-Regional. UT will open play vs. Stony Brook (Nov. 21) before facing the host Titans (Nov. 22) and Florida Atlantic (Nov. 23).
Toledo will return from a 10-day break with a rematch against Detroit at Savage Arena (Dec. 4) before visiting Robert Morris (Dec. 7). Following a week-long break for final exams, the Rockets will host Sam Houston State (Dec. 14) in the first of three straight Saturday afternoon home dates. A trip to Arkansas State (Dec. 17) breaks up that home stretch which also sees UT host Cleveland State (Dec. 21) and Coppin State (Dec. 28). The Rockets receive their final tuneup for Mid-American Conference action with a visit to Lawrence, KS on Dec. 30 for a matchup against the Jayhawks.
"I think our schedule has a great balance," Kowalczyk said. "We're certainly challenging ourselves against one of the premier programs in the country in Kansas as well as one of the up-and-coming ACC programs in Boston College. We also have a great local flair with two games against Detroit and one versus Cleveland State. There are also some opponents that the average fan might not know, but Stony Brook, Robert Morris, Sam Houston State and Arkansas State are very good programs and will give us the possibility of this being a very good RPI schedule."
UT returns four starters from last year's 15-13 squad that tied Western Michigan for first place in the MAC's West Division. A pair of all-conference guards, senior Rian Pearson (17.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and junior Julius Brown (13.1 ppg, 6.0 apg), are back to team with 2012-13 All-MAC Freshman Team center Nathan Boothe (8.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and senior forward Matt Smith (9.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg).
The Rockets are also gaining the services of a pair of junior transfers, guard Justin Drummond and forward J.D. Weatherspoon, as well as the freshman trio of center Zach Garber, guard Jordan Lauf and guard Jonathan Williams.
Toledo will play an 18-game MAC schedule for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign. UT begins its league slate on Jan. 8 at Western Michigan before playing four of its next five home games in Savage Arena. Home games vs. Central Michigan (Jan. 11), Buffalo (Jan. 15), Northern Illinois (Jan. 22) and Kent State (Jan. 26) will follow with the lone road game in that stretch a visit to defending MAC champion Akron (Jan. 18).
Toledo will have just three home games in February against Bowling Green (Feb. 5), Ohio (Feb. 12) and Ball State (Feb. 23). The Rockets' matchup against the Falcons will serve as the ‘Tie One On' contest with proceeds from that contest benefitting the University of Toledo Medical Center's Dana Cancer Center in support of prostate cancer care. UT's final two home games will be vs. Western Michigan (Mar. 1) and Eastern Michigan (Mar. 7/8).
The first round of the 2014 MAC Tournament will begin on campus sites on March 10 with the remainder of the tourney being held at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH.