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Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Aug. 23, 2005
Lipscomb's Bisons will open their 2005-2006 campaign for the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship with their most difficult pre-conference schedule since becoming an NCAA Division I program.
"Every year our schedule will take a different look depending on what players we have back," said Lipscomb Coach Scott Sanderson said.
The Bisons open the regular season on the road in the Guardians Classic. The Bisons will take on Northern Colorado in the opening round on Nov. 13 at historic Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. The winner of that game advances to play either the University of Kentucky or South Dakota State in the second round on Nov. 14. The winner of the second round game travels to Kansas City, Mo., for the finals.
The Bisons had originally been scheduled to play Wofford in the first round. There are four tournament sites and Wofford has been switched to West Virginia University.
In addition to the possible match-up with Kentucky, the Bisons have two other Southeastern Conference foes on the schedule _ Auburn University and the University of Tennessee. On Nov. 20 the Bisons travel to Alabama to face Auburn. The Bisons close out the non-conference portion of the schedule in Knoxville on Dec. 29 against the Volunteers and first-year coach Bruce Pearl.
"Playing the University of Tennessee is a win-win for us," Sanderson said. "We have a chance to possibly play Kentucky and we are playing at Auburn. It's like we are playing half of the SEC this year. Those games will provide our guys valuable experience."
Rounding out the non-conference schedule on the road are games at Jackson State in Jackson, Miss., on Dec. 17 and Nicholls State in Thibodeaux, La., on Dec. 19.
Non-conference homes games at Allen Arena will feature Jackson State on Dec. 8 and Liberty University Dec. 10.
Lipscomb Coach Scott Sanderson thinks his team is ready for the stronger non-conference challenge.
"We have everybody coming back, and we had a very good recruiting class," Sanderson said. "We might have a better team and not as good a record as we had last season because of the tougher non-conference schedule. I think these teams will help us prepare us more for our league."
Two exhibition games are also scheduled for Allen Arena with North Alabama visiting Nov. 8 and Freed-Hardeman University coming to Nashville Nov. 28.
The Atlantic Sun Conference schedule features three new schools _ North Florida, Kennesaw State and East Tennessee State. The two A-Sun games for the Bisons are at Kennesaw State Dec. 1 and East Tennessee State Dec. 3.
North Florida and Kennesaw State are moving to NCAA Division I from NCAA Division II. Neither school is eligible for the conference tournament.
The first A-Sun home game for the Bisons is Jan. 2 at Allen Arena against Gardner-Webb.
The meetings with long-time rival Belmont University, known as the "Battle of the Boulevard", are scheduled for Jan. 20 at Allen Arena and Jan. 31 at Belmont.
Other home conference games are Campbell (Jan. 4), Mercer (Jan. 14), Stetson (Jan. 16), Florida Atlantic (Jan. 29), North Florida (Feb. 9), Jacksonville (Feb. 11), East Tennessee State (Feb. 24) and Kennesaw State (Feb. 26).
The remaining conference games on the road are Jacksonville (Jan.7), North Florida (Jan. 9), Florida Atlantic (Jan. 24), Mercer (Feb. 4), Stetson (Feb. 6), Campbell (Feb. 16) and Gardner-Webb (Feb. 18).
"Our focus is our 20-game league schedule," Sanderson said. "The only way we are going to get into the NCAA Tournament is to win our tournament, and we understand that."