In-state contests, Notre Dame trip highlight 2017-18 Southeastern Lions men’s basketball schedule

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HAMMOND, La. – Thirteen home games and trips to UL Lafayette and Notre Dame highlight the 2017-18 Southeastern Louisiana men’s basketball schedule released on Wednesday.

The home schedule features four non-conference games against Louisiana schools. The Lions will host Louisiana College in an exhibition on Nov. 7, then welcome in Centenary on Nov. 10, Loyola-New Orleans on Nov. 28 and Southern-New Orleans on Dec. 14.

Southeastern will also travel to UL Lafayette on Dec. 19 for just the second meeting between the two schools since 1971. The Lions edged the Ragin’ Cajuns 83-80 at the 1984 Bayou Classic.

“We take pride in playing one of the more-challenging non-conference schedules in the country, highlighted by a number of in-state rivals,” Southeastern head coach Jay Ladner said. “That was a big emphasis for us, to begin playing Louisiana schools. I think that is important, developing some rivalries that our fan base can relate to.

Southeastern will make its first trip to South Bend, Indiana, to play Notre Dame on Dec.21. The Lions are also scheduled to compete in the Savannah Invitational from Nov. 19-25.

“We have some great teams as usual, highlighted by a trip to South Bend to play Notre Dame who has really developed into a national basketball power the past several years,” Ladner said. “It will be challenging as always. All the games on the road will make it difficult for us but it should also prepare us for league play.”

Southeastern will be looking to build off a 2016-17 season in which it finished with its first winning regular season since 2010-11. The Lions went 16-16 overall, 9-9 in Southland Conference play, and reached the conference tournament for the fifth straight year.

Southeastern opens the season Nov. 10 with a trip to in-state rival Tulane. The teams have met 12 times with the Green Wave taking a 93-76 win in New Orleans in 2016.

The Lions then open their regular season home schedule against Centenary on Nov. 12. It will be the 47th meeting between the two programs, but the first since Centenary came away with a 69-62 win in Hammond in 1998.

Southeastern will embark on a five-game road trip, starting with a visit to ULM on Nov. 16. The Lions begin play in the Savannah Invitational at Valparaiso on Nov. 19 before making the hop to Kent State on Nov. 21. Southeastern wraps up the tournament with a pair of games in Samford, Alabama against Samford on Nov. 24 and Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 25.

The Lions return home to play Loyola-New Orleans on Nov. 28. Southeastern won the latest of 26 previous meetings, 101-65, in Hammond in 2015. A trip to Central Florida follows after a break for exams on Dec.12.

Southeastern starts a stretch of three straight games against in-state schools with a home game against SUNO on Dec. 14. The Lions lead the series 2-0 with wins in 2007 and ’08. Southeastern also took an 81-53 exhibition win in the University Center to begin the 2016-17 season.

The Lions then travel to Grambling on Dec. 16 and UL Lafayette on Dec. 19. Southeastern and Grambling have played nine times, the last in 1998, while the Lions and Ragin’ Cajuns will be meeting for the 52nd time overall.

Southeastern closes out its non-conference slate at Notre Dame. The Irish finished 14th in the AP Top 25 with a 26-10 record in 2016-17. Notre Dame defeated Princeton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to West Virginia in the second round.

Southeastern opens Southland Conference play at home against Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 28 before going on a three-game road trip to Central Arkansas, Abilene Christian and Lamar. The Lions counter that with three straight at home against McNeese, Houston Baptist and Northwestern State. After trips to Sam Houston State and Nicholls, Southeastern hosts Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Central Arkansas.

The Lions go back on the road to take on Incarnate Word and McNeese before hosting 2016-17 league champion New Orleans and Abilene Christian. A final road swing takes Southeastern to Northwestern State and New Orleans before the Lions close out the regular season at home against Nicholls on March 3. The Southland Conference Tournament is scheduled for March 7-11 in Katy, Texas.

“It’s the usual Southland Conference which I think, top to bottom, for a league that has 13 teams, is one of the great leagues in the country as far as teams being balanced,” Ladner said. “Playing a good, tough non-conference schedule should really help us get ready for that.”

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