Bobcat men face challenging slate

BOZEMAN — A trip to regional rival Wyoming and visits to UTEP and a tournament at Central Michigan highlight Montana State’s challenging 2013-14 men’s basketball schedule.

“The expanded Big Sky Conference schedule doesn’t leave much room to play with in putting the non-conference schedule together,” said MSU coach Brad Huse, “but I think we have a great mix of home, away, and neutral court games. For the first time in quite a while we’re playing in an exempt event (at Central Michigan), and it’s great that we’re playing Wyoming once again.”

The Bobcats open the season against Cal State Fullerton in Bozeman, and also host Cal State Northridge (Nov. 26), while visiting UC Riverside (Nov. 16). MSU renews its ancient rivalry with Wyoming, dormant since Huse’s squad topped the Cowboys 79-72 in Casper in 2007-08, and battles UTEP for the first time since a 103-90 loss at Los Angeles in 1968.

“Playing at UTEP will be a huge challenge, as they return five their top seven scorers from a team that finished third in Conference USA,” Huse continued. “Portland has nine returners and four of their top five scorers back, so they’ll be a very good opponent on the road. Fullerton, Northridge and Riverside all return talented rosters, but also have new head coaches so there are some unknowns with X’s and O’s. That definitely makes the Fullerton game very interesting.”

The Bobcats don’t open Big Sky play until January 2, 2014, when Sacramento State and NAU visit the Fieldhouse. MSU plays its Brawl of the Wild rivalry game against Montana in Bozeman on February 3, when for the second straight year the Cats travel back from a road game at Southern Utah less than 48 hours before hosting their arch-rivals.

Huse expects the Big Sky to be a deep and difficult league in 2013-14. “Our league will be very challenging,” he said. “The purpose of the non-conference schedule is to prepare us for the conference season and I know this schedule accomplishes that. Once we hit league play we miss a lot of class days, so one of my priorities in the non-conference has always been to set a schedule that has us missing as few class days as possible. Once again, we’ve accomplished that.”

Four starters return from MSU’s 2012-13 team, which finished 10-10 in Big Sky play.

— MSU Sports Information

2013-14 MSU Schedule

N3          Dickinson State (exh)

N9          CS Fullerton

N16        at UC Riverside

N21-23  at Ctl Mich Tourn.

N26        CS Northridge

N30        at Wyoming

D7          Walla Walla

D15        at Portland

D19        SW Christian

D23        at UTEP

J2           *Sac State

J4           *NAU

J9           *at Portland State

J11         *at Eastern Wash.

J16         *Northern Colo.

J18         *North Dakota

J23         *at Weber State

J25         *at Idaho State

F1           *at Southern Utah

F3           *Montana

F6           *Eastern Wash.,

F8           *Portland State

F13         *at North Dakota

F15         *at Northern Colo.

F20         *Idaho State

F22         *Weber State

F27         *Southern Utah

M3          *at Montana

M6          *at NAU

M8          *at Sac State


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