“My goal in putting together our schedule is always two fold,” said fifth-year head coach Mike McGuire. “I want a competitive balance between home and road games, and I want to challenge our club in the non-conference portion of our schedule. I believe we accomplished both of those with 28 home games as well as road contests at power five opponents Mississippi State, Louisville, West Virginia, and Tennessee in addition to the Hoover Classic, which will feature Iowa.”
The slate opens with a four-game set at Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent Jackson State (Feb. 17-19) and continues with the Hoover Classic in Hoover, Ala., at the site of the Southeastern Conference Tournament – Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. The Eagles will face 2016 NCAA Tournament team Alabama State twice, as well as Iowa from the Big 10 Conference. Iowa was in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, the same year MSU made its first NCAA Championship appearance since 1983.
The other four power five games include Mississippi State (Feb. 21), Louisville (March 1), West Virginia (March 14) and Tennessee (May 16). All game times and dates are subject to change. Check MSUEagles.com, Twitter (@MSUEagles) and Facebook (MSUEagles) for updates throughout the spring.
The non-conference home portion of the ledger opens with a three-game set versus Mid-American Conference foe Bowling Green and also includes two-gamers with Youngstown State (March 7-8), and Alabama A&M (March 28-29) and solo games with West Virginia Tech (April 18), Marshall (April 26) and Ohio (May 2). The Eagles will host the Atlantic 10’s Massachusetts Minutemen for their Ohio Valley Conference “bye” weekend on March 31-April 2.
OVC play begins with a three-game home set against defending champion Southeast Missouri on March 10-12. MSU will also host Eastern Kentucky (March 24-26), SIU Edwardsville (April 13-15), Eastern Illinois (April 28-30) and Murray State (May 12-14) for league series. The Eagles will journey to Belmont (March 17-19), UT Martin (April 7-9), Austin Peay (April 21-23), Jacksonville State (May 5-7) and Tennessee Tech (May 18-20) in conference action.
In addition, the team will have non-conference road tilts at Ohio (March 21), Marshall (April ) and Miami (Ohio) (April 25).
The OVC Tournament will be in its first year in Oxford, Ala., at Choccolocco Park on May 24-28. The Eagles will get a chance to preview the setting as Jacksonville State is renovating its field and will play all its home games there in 2016.
“With eight starters back and several key arms returning to combine with a good recruiting class, we are hungry as a program to win another OVC championship and get back to an NCAA Regional,” McGuire said. “This schedule will offer us the challenges needed to prepare for that opportunity.”