Missouri Basketball released its 2012-13 non-conference schedule on Wednesday and the start of a home-and-home series with UCLA, the annual Busch Braggin' Rights clash with Illinois in St. Louis and this year's top preseason tournament, the Battle 4 Atlantis, highlight the schedule.
In addition, Missouri will begin its first season of play in the Southeastern Conference, which includes 18 regular-season games as the Tigers look to make their fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
In all, Missouri will have 19 home games, beginning with exhibition contests vs. Northwest Missouri State (Oct. 29) and Missouri Southern (Nov. 4). The Tigers will also host in-state foe Southeast Missouri State in a regular season game on Dec. 4.
Mizzou will have the opportunity to play a number of ranked opponents during non-conference play. UCLA welcomes the country's No. 1 recruiting class and the Bruins return to the renovated Pauley Pavilion this season. Head Coach Frank Haith's club will also face three difficult challenges in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving. That tournament field includes Missouri, Stanford, Louisville, Duke, Memphis, Minnesota, Northern Iowa and VCU. Each of those teams won at least 20 games a season ago and six of the eight teams, including Missouri, are ranked among CBS's Preseason Top 25 (courtesy Jeff Goodman). Louisville is ranked No. 3 in that early poll along with No. 12 Duke, No. 14 Memphis, No. 19 Missouri, No. 24 Minnesota and No. 25 VCU. Stanford, Missouri's opening opponent in the event, fell just outside those rankings, but won the 2012 Postseason NIT.
"This schedule will have some big time opportunities, including starting a home-and-home series with UCLA," Haith said. "There is no question that the Battle 4 Atlantis will be a big challenge for us, especially as we work in a number of new players early in the season.
"When you look at the 18-game league schedule on top of that and of course our annual game with Illinois, I like how our team will be tested early and often this year. Something that was also important was playing in games and tournaments that create national exposure. With our league schedule we have 18 games on national TV this season."
As Haith mentioned, that national TV number is the highest in school history. Missouri had 16 regular-season games appear on national networks last year and official start time and national network information for the Dec. 22 Braggin' Rights Game will be announced at a later date. The remaining games will be aired on the Mizzou Sports Network and the SEC Network. Those games are typically carried on ESPN3.com as well, bolstering the club's national visibility.
Complete television/time information for the Mizzou Sports Network will be released at a later date. The Mizzou Sports Network games are aired on Fox Sports Midwest in St. Louis, Metro Sports in Kansas City and KOMU in Mid-Missouri.
Missouri concludes non-conference play against defending Patriot League regular season champion Bucknell on Jan. 5. The Bison finished 25-10 last year.
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