OREM – As Utah Valley University men's basketball prepares to enter its first-ever schedule as members of the Western Athletic Conference, UVU coach Dick Hunsaker has finalized the 2013-14 men's basketball schedule.
The slate features names and competition the Wolverines haven’t seen during their 10-year Division I era. More than one-third of the schedule — eight teams and 11 games — is made up of opponents that competed in the postseason a year ago, four of which appeared in the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s a very challenging schedule and it’s hard to take your eyes off of Oklahoma State and Oregon, as we’ve never faced that caliber of preseason ranking,” 12th-year head coach Hunsaker said.
The Wolverines will be at Oklahoma State on Nov. 12 and at Oregon one week later, on Nov. 19. The Cowboys, ranked 17th in the final AP Poll last season, will be the first-ever Big 12 opponent for Utah Valley and returns All-American Marcus Smart. The Ducks, who eliminated Oklahoma State in the NCAA Tournament, appeared in the Sweet 16 last March before losing to eventual national champion Louisville. The reigning Pac 12 Tournament Champions were ranked 24th in last season’s final Coaches Poll.
WAC Tournament Champion New Mexico State and MEAC Tournament Champion North Carolina A&T also played in the NCAA Tournament and are on the schedule. Weber State, North Dakota State and Chicago State appeared in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament and new conference foe Grand Canyon competed in the NCAA Division II West Regional.
Utah Valley opens the season with a pair of home games against IUPUI on Nov. 8 and North Carolina A&T on Nov. 11, prior to hitting the road for the next five games. Following the contests at Oklahoma State and Oregon, UVU will play at Pepperdine of the West Coast Conference on Nov. 23.
On Nov. 30, the Wolverines will be at Tennessee Tech — which makes the return trip to Orem on Dec. 28 — before wrapping the five-game road stint at South Dakota on Dec. 2.
The rest of the calendar year will be played in Utah with five of the next six at home. The Wolverines will host the Weber State on Dec. 11 and travel to Utah State to face the Aggies on Dec. 14.
“It’s great for our student body, community and players to have Weber State back on the schedule, along with another in-state game at Utah State,” Hunsaker said.
North Dakota State will be in Orem to round out the pre-Christmas schedule on Dec. 23, and following the Dec. 28 contest against Tennessee Tech, the WAC schedule begins just after the calendar turns, on Jan. 4, at Bakersfield.
The first home contest in WAC play comes Jan. 11 against Grand Canyon and head coach, former-NBA All-Star, Dan Majerle.
“We’re all excited about our WAC schedule and everybody has great anticipation of being a member of this tradition-rich conference and its competition,” Hunsaker said.
The 16-game conference schedule concludes with three home games: New Mexico State on Feb. 27, Texas-Pan American on March 1 and Bakersfield on March 8. The 2014 WAC Tournament is taking place March 13-15 at The Orleans in Las Vegas.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.