July 29, 2008
HOUSTON - Three home games against teams which advanced to the NCAA Tournament, including Oklahoma and Texas A&M, as well as an appearance in the BYU-hosted Basketball Travelers Invitational highlight Rice University's non-conference men's basketball schedule announced Tuesday.
"We are very excited about our non-conference schedule," said first-year coach Ben Braun. "It is very competitive and will prepare us for league play."
The Conference USA schedule is expected to be announced sometime in August.
Rice returns to campus and renovated Tudor Fieldhouse to open the 2008-09 season against Portland State Nov. 15th. Portland State is coming off a 23-10 season in which the Vikings won the Big Sky Conference championship. The opener against Portland State is one of seven home dates.
The non-conference home slate also includes Oklahoma on Dec. 22 and Texas A&M on Dec. 31. OU was 23-12 last year and many early, 2008-09 polls have the Sooners in the Top 10. Texas A&M was 25-11 last season. Both teams advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year.
Rice will also play host to Lamar (Nov. 25), Texas-San Antonio (Dec. 4), Texas State (Dec. 6) and Harvard (Dec. 17).
After opening at home against Portland State, the Owls travel to Provo, Utah, for the Basketball Travelers Invitational Nov. 20-22. Rice will take on host BYU, another 2008 NCAA Tournament team, as well as Cal Poly and North Florida during the Multi Team Event tournament. The order of games has yet to be determined for the round-robin tournament.
The Owls' non-conference road schedule includes a Nov. 30 date at Texas. Rice also travels to Duquesne (Dec. 20), UALR (Dec. 28) and Richmond (Jan. 3). While Texas advanced to the NCAA Houston Regional finals, Richmond played in the College Basketball Invitational in 2008. UALR was a 20-game winner last year while Duquesne is coming off its first winning season in 14 years.
With the addition of Conference USA opponents, Rice will play 11 teams which advanced to post-season play last year.
Season tickets for the return of basketball to the Rice campus can be reserved with a $57 deposit per ticket. For more information on season tickets, fans may go to the ticket link at RiceOwls.com or by calling the Rice Owls Ticket Office at (713) 522-6957.