NIU Men's Basketball Releases '08-'09 Slate

DeKalb, Illinois - Northern Illinois University head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton announced the Huskies' 2008-09 schedule on Wednesday, featuring two tournaments, including the 2008 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage from November 26-29.

"One of the things we want to do is to give our student-athletes as many different experiences as possible," Patton said. "I thought (the Great Alaska Shootout) would be a great opportunity for Northern Illinois."

NIU will open the Shootout against 2008 NCAA Tournament participant Portland State on Wednesday, November 26. The Huskies will have Thanksgiving Day off before squaring off with either Hampton or Alaska Anchorage on Friday. Other tournament teams include: Louisiana Tech, San Diego State, Seattle and Western Carolina.

The Huskies will be tested at home as well, as Northern Illinois will host 12 games at the NIU Convocation Center, including 2008 Mid-American Conference champion Kent State and 2008 NIT participant Akron as well as in-state rivals, Chicago State, Southern Illinois and Loyola-Chicago.

The Huskies open the 2008-09 campaign on Friday, November 14, as they travel to Kennesaw, Georgia to participate in the 100 Club Classic, hosted by Kennesaw State. NIU opens the tournament against Maine and could face either Western Illinois or the host Owls on Saturday.

NIU opens its home campaign on Tuesday, November 18, as the Huskies welcome Indiana State for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the NIU Convocation Center.

Three days later, Patton will return to his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee to lead his troops against Tennessee State. Patton served as an assistant coach for the Tigers from 1991-93.

Following the Great Alaska Shootout, Patton makes his first trip back to Colorado as the Huskies face Air Force on Wednesday, December 3. Former Northern Illinois associate head basketball coach Benjy Taylor will bring Chicago State to the Convo Center on December 6 for a 2 p.m. first tip.

Patton will make yet another return to an old neighborhood, as the Huskies will take on Arkansas-Little Rock on December 14. Patton was an assistant coach for the Trojans during the 1990-91 campaign.

The Huskies wrap up their home non-conference schedule against in-state rivals Southern Illinois on December 17 (7 p.m.) and Loyola-Chicago on December 20 (3 p.m.).

The Mid-American Conference campaign will begin on Saturday, January 10 against Toledo at the Convo Center and for the sixth-straight year, the Huskies will be a part of the ESPN Bracket Buster on February 22, 2009. The opponent and game time for that contest will be determined at a later date.

The Huskies return five lettermen and add eight newcomers in 2008-09, including 2008 MAC Freshman of the Year, Darion Anderson (Chicago, Ill./Carver Military Academy).

"The biggest challenge for the very competitive schedule that we have is how quickly our young guys can grow up, come together and start to gel as a team," Patton said.

Men's Basketball season tickets for 12 home games are on sale now for $119 for the general public and $109 for senior citizens. A season ticket package for both the men's and women's basketball teams is available for $135 at www.niuhuskies.com or by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 815-752-6800.

PDF Version of 2008-09 Men's Basketball Schedule


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