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EDWARDSVILLE – SIUE men's basketball Head Coach Brian Barone has revealed his 2021-22 schedule, including a nonconference schedule which will challenge his team right out of the gate and prepare it for the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Cougars open the season on the road at Marquette (Nov. 9).

"We'll start with a program and an extremely well-respected coach who has done a phenomenal job over his career," Barone said. "It will be a high-level environment which will be something that our guys can grow from starting with day one."

Returning players Desmond Polk and Carlos Curtis are each from Milwaukee, while Barone completed his playing career and received his undergraduate degree from Marquette.

"I think it is important to bring guys back home," Barone continued. "We have done that every year that I have been here so far. That is something we take into account. With me playing there, it will have its own special moments."

From Milwaukee, the Cougars will travel to Chicago to take on Chicago State (Nov. 12). They will then go to Youngstown, Ohio, to face Youngstown State (Nov. 19), St. Thomas (Nov. 20) and Niagara (Nov. 21) at the Youngstown State Classic. SIUE also will take on Creighton (Nov. 27), Omaha (Nov. 30), Bradley (Dec. 4) and South Alabama (Dec. 21) on the road during the nonconference season.

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"Our nonconference schedule is going to get us prepared for the OVC," Barone said. "We wanted to play a high-level of competition, and we also wanted to play some games that will challenge us on quick turnarounds that will simulate the Thursday-Saturday league games. The Youngstown tournament will prepare us for postseason competition."

Barone and the Cougars will open their home season with Knox College, an NCAA Division III program from Galesburg, Illinois. Purdue-Fort Wayne (Dec. 8), Kansas City (Dec. 12) and William Woods (Dec. 19) also will visit First Community Arena.

"Having only one home game in November isn't necessarily ideal," Barone said. "But when you're trying to put a schedule together, it is a multi-year deal. You're working on games that are two or three or sometimes four years down the road.

"We also inherited some commitments," he continued. "In order to balance out some returning contracts, we had to fit in games this year that we would have played last year. Next year we'll have some good opponents coming back to our arena as well."

The OVC schedule is a double round-robin format, where the Cougars will see all nine other schools twice. The slate begins with a home date against perennial contender Belmont (Dec. 30) and also includes Murray State (Jan. 8), Southeast Missouri (Jan. 15), Tennessee State (Jan. 27), Eastern Illinois (Feb. 3), UT Martin (Feb. 10), Tennessee Tech (Feb. 12), Austin Peay (Feb. 24) and defending champion Morehead State (Feb. 26).

SIUE will face the same nine teams on the road, beginning with UT Martin (Jan. 1). Trips follow to Austin Peay (Jan. 6), Eastern Illinois (Jan. 13), Tennessee Tech (Jan. 20), Morehead State (Jan. 22), Southeast Missouri (Jan. 29), Murray State (Feb. 5), Tennessee State (Feb. 17) and Belmont (Feb. 19).

"It's unique from an OVC perspective since we don't have the travel partners this year," Barone said of the Conference schedule. "It balances out with games on the road and at home in the same week. It's something different that we'll have to get used to. However, if there's a team that is used to doing something different, it's the SIUE Cougars after what we experienced last year. You'll still have to go to some very high-quality opponents, and you definitely have to compete at home."

The Ohio Valley Conference tournament returns to Evansville, Indiana, March 2-5. Men's basketball season tickets are on sale now. Click here to order your tickets today. For more information or questions regarding seasons tickets, contact Chris Wright at 618-650-2872.

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