"I think we have a very challenging non-conference schedule again with a good balance of tough teams at home and on the road," says head coach Thad Matta. "I think our challenging non-conference schedule was a big reason we were prepared for success last year in the Atlantic 10. Our non-conference schedule this season should again prepare us well for Atlantic 10 play."
Xavier finished 26-6 overall last season, including a second straight Atlantic 10 Conference West Division Regular Season Championship with a school record 15-1 mark. The A-10 sent six teams to postseason play last season, including three to the NCAA Tournament.
Xavier plays at least seven games against teams from the 2003 NCAA Tournament field, including Indiana University, the University of Alabama, the University of Cincinnati, Mississippi State University, Saint Joseph University, and home-and-away against the University of Dayton. The potential eighth game against a 2003 NCAA Tournament team could come against the University of San Diego in the Black Coaches Association Classic at the Cintas Center.
One of the highlights of the non-conference slate is a game against Indiana in the prestigious annual Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Nov. 29. It marks Xavier's first game against Indiana since losing to the then-top-ranked Hoosiers, 73-70, in the second round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament at the Indianapolis Hoosier Dome.
The Musketeers play at least six games against teams from the 2003 National Invitation Tournament field, as well, including Iowa State University, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Temple University, the University of Rhode Island and home-and-away against the University of Richmond. The potential seventh game against a 2003 NIT team could come against the University of Illinois-Chicago in the BCA Classic.
Xavier will play its largest home slate ever at the Cintas Center with 16 regular season games and two exhibition games. The team opens the regular season with the BCA Classic, which will be held Saturday, Nov. 15, through Monday, Nov. 17 at the Cintas Center. The event, which is part of the University's annual homecoming weekend, has four games slated each day. The team opens against Coppin State University at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15. This is the first men's basketball tournament that Xavier has hosted at the Cintas Center.
The team also plays its largest home slate ever at the Cintas Center with 16 regular season games and two exhibition games. The large home slate should be good news to Xavier fans, who have sold out 39 of the 43 regular season home games in the first three seasons of the 10,250-seat Cintas Center. Xavier, which has sold out all 24 regular season Atlantic 10 Conference games over the last three years, sold out 14 of 15 home games last season.
"Our fans have provided us tremendous support during our time at Cintas Center," says Associate Vice President and Athletic Director Mike Bobinski. "I think the great facility and great fan support are two big reasons why we have been able to improve our non-conference schedule and attract a quality event like the BCA Classic."
The University's ticket office announced that a limited number of upper level season tickets and six packs are still available. Full season ticket prices are $288 for corners and $228 for end zone seats. The Six Pack, which includes the games against Louisiana-Lafayette, Alabama, Saint Joseph's, Richmond, Massachusetts and George Washington, are $114 for sides and $96 for corners. Individual game tickets are $19 for sides, $16 for corners and $12 for end zone seats and will go on sale the last week of October. Tickets for the two exhibition games are $12 for all seats.
There will be no public sale of individual tickets for the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout against Cincinnati. However, tickets to this game are included in the full season ticket package.
Fans can log on to the Xavier web site at www.xavier.edu or call 745-3411 for more ticket information. For those who can't get to the games, there's good news as well. Xavier will play five games on national television this season, including three on ESPN and two on ESPN2. The national spotlight will shine on the Cintas Center four times this season: Alabama on Jan. 3 on ESPN, Saint Joseph's on ESPN2 on Jan. 17, the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout against Cincinnati on Feb. 3 on ESPN2 and the game against Dayton on Feb. 21 on ESPN. Xavier's only road game on national television will be at Temple on ESPN in the regular season finale on March 6.
"Our television exposure is tremendously important to our program and the entire University," says Bobinski. "It's nice to get a chance to show the nation what a great place and great fans we have at Xavier."
The Atlantic 10 Television Network, which is broadcast locally on Fox Sports Net, will show five Xavier games, including road games at Rhode Island and Dayton and home games against Richmond, Massachusetts and Duquesne.
Bobinski noted that the 10-game package on the home of Xavier basketball, Fox Sports Net, will be announced at a later date. That will bring Xavier's TV slate to 20 games, with the possibility of others being added before the season begins.