SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's basketball team and Coach Lance Randall have put the final stamp of approval on the 2011-12 schedule as the Lions play a 26-game slate against formidable competition.
"We have a very challenging schedule that includes three NCAA Division I opponents on the road and many games against traditionally nationally ranked teams," Randall said. "In order to reach our goals as a program, I feel it is in our best interest to compete against the best in the country. This is as difficult a non-conference schedule as there is in the region. We are excited about these rigorous tests that await."
15 home contests highlight the schedule as the regular season gets started on Friday, November 11, when the Lions host Southeastern University (Fla.). The matchup against the Fire marks the first of four November home games within the friendly confines of the Marion Bowman Activities Center as Saint Leo will also host NAIA powerhouse Southern Poly Tech (Nov. 12), the University of Puerto Rico-Bayamon (Nov. 23) and Trinity College (Nov. 26).
The road portion of the schedule begins on Saturday, November 5 with an exhibition in Ft. Myers against Division I Florida Gulf Coast. Once regular season play begins, the Lions will play 11 games away from home, starting on Tuesday, November 15 when they travel to Valdosta, Ga. to face fellow NCAA South Region opponent Valdosta State. The matchup with the Blazers is the only Division II non-conference road opponent with current Division I Stetson (Nov. 19) and transitioning Division I New Orleans (Dec. 13).
Three tough non-conference competitors come calling during December beginning with Valdosta State on Saturday, December 3. Two weeks later the Lions face possibly their toughest test when No. 3 West Liberty (Dec. 17), last year's regular season top-ranked team, tips off with the Green and Gold. The following day Saint Leo hosts Tuskegee (Dec. 18) as their final non-conference opponent.
Sunshine State Conference action begins on the final day of 2011 when the Lions host Lynn in a New Year's Eve showdown.
Once the calendar flips to 2012, January sees the Lions on the home hardwood just three times in seven games with matchups against seven of eight SSC opponents. Home games for the month feature Florida Southern (Jan. 11), Rollins (Jan. 14) and Barry (Jan. 25), while the road contests feature Tampa (Jan. 4), Florida Tech (Jan. 7), Eckerd (Jan. 18) and Nova Southeastern (Jan. 21).
Down the stretch into February, the Lions make their second swing through conference with an even split of eight games; four home, four away. A busy month with the Lions in action every Wednesday and Saturday begins at Lynn (Feb. 1) with road games at Rollins (Feb. 11), Florida Southern (Feb. 15) and Barry (Feb. 25) to close out the regular season. Home games during the month feature Florida Tech (Feb. 4), Tampa (Feb. 8), Nova Southeastern (Feb. 18) and a Senior Day meeting with Eckerd (Feb. 22).
The annual Sunshine State Conference Tournament is scheduled for March 1-4 at the Jenkins Field House in Lakeland, Fla.
All weeknight home games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday* but are subject to change. The Lions Pride Pass is available for season-long admission to all home events. Visit SaintLeoLions.com to view the up-to-date schedule, standings, and information on the Lions.
*Games Dec. 17 and 18 will be played at 2:00 p.m.