LSU basketball schedule released

By now, LSU basketball fans could have pieced together the bulk of the Tigers’ schedule based on other programs releasing their schedules.

After sending its nonconference schedule into the Southeastern Conference’s home office twice for review, LSU released its 2013-14 schedule Tuesday, with its nonconference portion highlighted by playing in the Old Spice Classic and a road trip to Texas Tech.

Yet, the Tigers’ conference schedule is pockmarked with marquee home games, including a visit from Kentucky on Jan. 28 to Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

“It’s a very challenging schedule for us, and I think it’s balanced,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. “It should allow us to identity who we are early on in the season, and it really gets us prepared for conference play.”

LSU opens up the season at 10 a.m. Nov. 12 with a visit to Massachusetts that will be part of ESPN’s annual tip-off event. Next, they come home for three consecutive games against in-state foes in Northwestern State (Nov. 16), UNO (Nov. 19) and Southeastern Louisiana (Nov. 22) before traveling to the Old Spice Classic.

LSU opens up the tournament, based in Orlando, Fla., against St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 on ESPN2, with a possible matchup looming against Memphis or Siena a day later.

The program’s next home date is against UL-Monroe on Dec. 14 before traveling to Texas Tech in an 8 p.m. game on ESPNU.

LSU closes December with four straight home games with UAB (Dec. 21), McNeese State (Dec. 28) and Rhode Island (Jan. 4) before it opens up its SEC schedule at 6 p.m. Jan. 7 against Tennessee in a Super Tuesday game on ESPN.

“We have some teams that will be anywhere from the top 10 to top 20 in their early season ranking,” Jones said. “Anytime you can play that type of competition, regardless if it’s home, away or on a neutral site, your team needs to be challenged in the early part of the season.”

A year ago, Florida was the only true top-flight home game on LSU’s SEC schedule, but that should change with the early portion of the Tigers conference docket this season. Four potential NCAA teams, starting with the Vols, come to Baton Rouge. After Vanderbilt arrives Jan. 15, LSU gets Missouri on Jan. 21, followed up a week later by conference favorite Kentucky on Jan. 28.

The Tigers also host SEC foes in Arkansas (Feb. 1), Auburn (Feb. 8), Mississippi State (Feb. 19) and Texas A&M (Feb. 26) and Georgia (March 7) to close the season.

LSU also gets early road tests in January. The Tigers visit a potentially improved South Carolina on Jan. 11, followed by a road trip to an NCAA tournament team in Ole Miss on Jan. 15.

Ten days later, LSU visits Alabama, setting off a 12-day break from the road before opening February with three of its first four games away from the PMAC with visits to Georgia (Feb. 6), Texas A&M (Feb. 12) and Arkansas (Feb. 15).

If the Tigers are in the mix for an NCAA tournament berth, games at Kentucky (Feb. 22) and a nationally televised matchup on CBS with Florida (March 1) could be a boost for their résumé ahead of a March 6 visit to Vanderbilt.

“Everything is geared toward that,” Jones said. “Night in and night out you’re going to be challenged in this conference. You’re going to get teams’ best. They’re playing for seeding and there’s always something to play for night in and night out.”

Soccer

FREE YOUTH CLINICS TO BE HELD BEORE FRIDAY NIGHT HOME GAMES: Children ages preschool through the eighth grade are invited to spend their “Friday Nights Under the Lights” during the 2013 season as the LSU soccer team hosts free youth clinics at the LSU Soccer Stadium from 6-6:30 p.m. every Friday match.

Kids need to bring a soccer ball, shin guards and a water bottle.

Dates for the clinics include this Friday, Aug. 30, Sept. 27, Oct. 11, Oct. 18 and Oct. 25.

For information call Brad Morales at 225-578-6884 or email at bmoral1@tigers.lsu.edu.