Youngstown – Youngstown State men's basketball Head Coach Jerry Slocum announced today the Penguins' 2015-16 slate. The schedule features nine 20-win opponents, three NCAA Tournament teams, including a squad that advanced to the Elite 8.
The 13-game non-league slate includes five home games at the Beeghly Center, a three-game exempt tournament at Florida Gulf Coast, and five road contests. It also features 11 Division I teams that combined for 208 wins last season.
"I think this is the most challenging schedules that we've had," Slocum said. "You look at starting your year with Kent State, Toledo, and going to the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament and playing Bowling Green.Then you have games against three Power Five Conference teams in Purdue, Michigan and Notre Dame.
"The positive is we had our summer tour trip and that will allow us to be a little more ready and earlier than we normally would."
The Penguins open the campaign at Kent State (Nov. 14) in a contest that supports the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Coaches vs. Cancer, and then host Mid-American Conference member Toledo in the home opener (Nov. 18).
The three-game exempt tournament at Florida Gulf Coast (Nov. 21-23) includes games against FGCU (Nov. 21), Bowling Green (Nov. 22), and North Dakota (Nov. 23).
The Penguins host Thiel (Nov. 25) and visit Niagara (Nov. 28) before playing two straight home contests against Robert Morris (Dec. 2) and American (Dec. 4) before finals week.
Following finals week, the Penguins visit Big Ten member and NCAA Tournament participant Purdue (Dec. 12) for just the second meeting between the schools. The Boilermakers finished 21-13 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Penguins return home to host Geneva (Dec. 15).
Just prior a break for the Christmas holiday, the Penguins take on Big Ten member Michigan (Dec. 19) at Chrysler Arena and visit NCAA Tournament Elite 8 participant Notre Dame (Dec. 21). The Fighting Irish ended the 2014-15 campaign with a 32-6 overall record and lost to Kentucky in the Midwest Regional Final.
For the 10th time in the last 11 seasons, the Penguins will start Horizon League play on the road when they visit Detroit and Oakland on Jan. 2 and Jan. 4, respectively.
After a pair of home games against Milwaukee on Jan. 7 and Green Bay on Jan. 9, Youngstown State will play five of the next six games on the road. Those away contests include at Northern Kentucky (Jan. 14), at Wright State (Jan. 16), against Cleveland State at Quicken Loans Arena (Jan. 24), at UIC (Jan. 28) and Valparaiso (Jan. 30). Sandwiched in between those five away games is a home match up against Valparaiso on Jan. 18.
The month of February is home friendly for the Penguins with six of the last eight games played at the Beeghly Center. The Penguins host Oakland (Feb. 4) and Detroit (Feb. 6), Cleveland State (Feb. 13) and UIC (Feb. 16) before a trip to Wisconsin to visit Green Bay (Feb. 20) and Milwaukee (Feb. 22).
The Penguins close out the regular season hosting Wright State (Feb. 25) and Northern Kentucky (Feb. 27).
The Horizon League Championship will take place March 5-8 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich.