FAIRFIELD, CT (September 9, 2011) - Sacred Heart head men's basketball coach Dave Bike announced the Pioneers 13-game non-conference schedule for the 2011-12 season. This year' slate will include match-ups against the likes of the ACC, Big East and Atlantic-10 as well as a spot in the Cancun Challenge.
"We are very excited about the non-conference schedule we have put together this year and feel it will prepare us for conference play which may be the most competitive it has ever been," commented Bike.
The 2011-12 season is just around the corner with the annual SHU Hoops Madness kick-off event planned for Friday, October 14th. The Pioneers season will once again open with the Connecticut 6 Classic at Mohegan Sun Arena. After meeting Yale and Fairfield the last two seasons, Sacred Heart is matched-up with in-state rival Hartford in this year's draw. Last season's meeting proved historic for the Pioneers as SHU came back from 20-points down in the second half with 8:17 left for a 56-55 win. It was the largest second half deficit overcome for a win in SHU's Division I history. This year's event is scheduled for Friday, November 11th.
The Pioneer's home opener is slated for Tuesday, November 15th and is the first of four non-league games at the William H. Pitt Center this season. SHU takes on the Stony Brook Seawolves on the 15th and will also welcome Brown (Nov. 27th), Yale (Dec. 5th) and Lafayette (Dec. 11th) to Fairfield this season.
The 2011 Cancun Challenge opens with a pair of state side games, November 17th at Rutgers and November 19th at Richmond before the Pioneers head down to Mexico. SHU takes on Hampton on November 22nd at the Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort and then will face either Southern Illinois University Edwardsville or Lipscomb on November 23rd.
"We feel the Cancun Challenge will provide our student athletes with a first class experience both on and off the court."
The month of December has the Pioneers on the road for four non-conference contests. Sacred Heart will head to Worcester, MA for a tilt with Holy Cross on Friday, December 9th. The Pioneers have a two-game swing after final exams that take them to the University of Notre Dame on December 19th and Boston College on December 21st. SHU will close out the 2011 calendar year at the University at New Hampshire on December 29th in their final tune-up before the schedule turns to full-time Northeast Conference play in January.
"Not only will we test our team with games against programs from the ACC, Big East and Atlantic-10, but we also were able to continue local rivalries as well as play institutions such as Notre Dame, Boston College and Holy Cross with a similar educational mission as Sacred Heart University."
The 2011-12 NEC slate is once again set for 18-games with the Pioneers playing each team twice with the exception of Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Mount St. Mary's and Wagner. SHU opens the NEC schedule in December with road games at Connecticut rivals, Quinnipiac (Dec. 1st) and Central Connecticut State (Dec. 3rd). This year's NEC Rivalry Week has the Pioneers matched-up with the league's newest member Bryant. This year's Northeast Conference schedule is still subject to change with the announcement of the 2011-12 TV schedule.