USI Releases First Conference Basketball Schedule Since Becoming a Division I School
The rules of basketball are the same regardless of where you play. However, it will be a whole new ballgame for both programs at the University of Southern Indiana this fall as they look ahead to their first seasons as Division I programs.
USI Reclassifies as Division I
Just over five months ago on February 7th, the University's Board of Trustees announced it had unanimously voted to reclassify the school from NCAA Division II (2) to Division I (1). This would require a move out of the Great Lakes Valley Conference, which they had been a member of since 1979, to a Division I conference. A move was announced two days later on February 9th when the school announced they had agreed to join the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). The transition from the GLVC to the OVC became final at the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year.
USI Conference Basketball Schedule Released
The move to Division I means tougher competition for both the men's and women's basketball programs (as well as the school's other athletic programs), a challenge they're no doubt ready to take head-on, or they wouldn't have looked at reclassification in the first place.
While the non-conference schedule to start the season is still being finalized, the USI Athletic Department gave fans a look at what the conference schedule will have in store with the release of the conference schedule dates and opponents on Thursday.
Both teams will play on the same day with the women playing first followed by the men's program. The exact times for each game will be released at a later date however, based on previous seasons, most games, especially those that take place during the week, would start at 5:30 PM Central for the women and 7:00 PM for the men. The complete schedule is listed below:
- Thursday, December 29 - Southeast Missouri at Southern Indiana (HOME)
- Saturday, December 31 -Southern Indiana at Eastern Illinois (AWAY)
- Thursday, January 5 - Southern Indiana at Morehead State (AWAY)
- Saturday, January 7 - SIUE at Southern Indiana (HOME)
- Thursday, January 12 - Little Rock at Southern Indiana (HOME)
- Saturday, January 14 - UT Martin at Southern Indiana (HOME)
- Thursday, January 19 - Southern Indiana at Lindenwood (AWAY)
- Saturday, January 21 - Southern Indiana at SIUE (AWAY)
- Thursday, January 26 - Eastern Illinois at Southern Indiana (HOME)
- Saturday, January 28 - Southern Indiana at UT Martin (AWAY)
- Thursday, February 2 - Tennessee State at Southern Indiana (HOME)
- Saturday, February 4 - Morehead State at Southern Indiana (HOME)
- Thursday, February 9 - Southern Indiana at Tennessee Tech (AWAY)
- Saturday, February 11 - Lindenwood at Southern Indiana (HOME)
- Thursday, February 16 - Southern Indiana at Little Rock (AWAY)
- Saturday, February 18 - Southern Indiana at Southeast Missouri (AWAY)
- Thursday, February 23 - Tennessee Tech at Southern Indiana (HOME)
- Saturday, February 25 - Southern Indiana at Tennessee State (AWAY)
If both teams play well enough over the course of the entire season and finish with one of the eight best win-loss records in the conference, they'll be invited to play in the conference tournament scheduled to be held at Ford Center in downtown Evansville March 1st through 4th.
However, even if both win their respective tournament, they will not be eligible for the NCAA Tournament (a.k.a. "March Madness"). Not yet anyway. Due to NCAA reclassification rules, newly reclassified athletic programs, like USI, are placed in a four-year probationary period immediately upon approval of their reclassification. But, that won't mean their seasons will necessarily be over. If allowed by the conference powers-that-be, they could play in a non-NCAA-sanctioned tournament such as the annual College Basketball Invitational if invited.
How to Watch
Obviously for home games, you can buy a ticket and watch them in person. However, if that's not a possibility, all OVC games and home non-conference contests can be seen on ESPN networks, with the majority of games broadcast on ESPN+, according to the Athletics Department. The Department went on to say, "additional linear exposures on ESPNU and ESPN2 will be announced at a later date."
Good luck to both programs as the get ready for this exciting new step in their respective histories.
[Source: USI Athletics]