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Mississippi State men's basketball to open on the road for first time since 2004-05 season

 

FILE - New Mississippi State University men's basketball coach Rick Ray will open his head coaching career at Troy University on Nov. 9.

FILE - New Mississippi State University men's basketball coach Rick Ray will open his head coaching career at Troy University on Nov. 9. Photo by: MSU athletics

 

Matt Stevens

 

STARKVILLE - New Mississippi State men's basketball head coach Rick Ray and his program announced Monday they will help open the 2012-13 season on the road.  

 

The Bulldogs will help open the new 6,000-seat Trojan Arena at Troy University on Nov. 9 in a rare sight for a major program to embark on. 

 

"I do know we are opening the schedule at Troy and I don't know how many BCS programs would be willing to open the season away from home in an environment like that," Ray said in an interview with The Dispatch in May. 

 

The contest with Troy, who MSU holds an 8-0 all-time record against, is the first time the Bulldogs will open up the season in a true road game since a 2000-01 loss at University of California in the first round of the Preseason National Invitational Tournament. 

 

Ray will not be introduced at home in a regular season game for another four days when MSU faces Florida Atlantic University and Mike Jarvis' program in Starkville for the third straight season. However, MSU has to be aware of facing the Owls in a opening round game of major tournament after losing a game two years ago before heading to 

 

New York City to eventually win the 2K Classic. 

 

"Looking at the schedule, there's no question it's going to be challenging," Ray said in a university statement Monday. "We play a lot of games early on the road, but I think that will present an invaluable opportunity for this team to bond and will help us prepare for Southeastern Conference play." 

 

After the contest against FAU, the Bulldogs will make its debut appearance in the Maui Invitational event by facing a revamped but likely Top 20-ranked powerhouse in the University of North Carolina. 

 

The other high-profile non-conference game will be MSU's return road game in the SEC/Big East Challenge when they fly to Rhode Island to face Providence College on Dec. 1. After that contest, MSU will have played in three different time zones before the end of the first month of the season. 

 

The Bulldogs have only five non-conference games at Humphrey Coliseum and two in the month of December. 

 

"Our roster features a lot of new faces, and this type of non-conference schedule will give them the chance early to see what college basketball is all about," Ray said. 

 

Following the exam break, MSU will be on the road again when they head to Chicago on Dec. 15 to face Loyola University to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the schools' historic showdown in the 1963 NCAA Tournament. 

 

According to MSU officials, the new 18-game SEC slate will be announced in around two weeks with the only guarantee being the Bulldogs permanent home-and-home opponent being the University of Mississippi. 

 

 

 

2012-13 MSU Schedule 

 

Date Day Team 

 

Nov. 4 Sunday William Carey (Exhibition) 

 

Nov. 9 Friday at Troy 

 

Nov. 13 Tuesday Florida Atlantic 

 

Nov. 19 Monday #North Carolina 

 

Nov. 20 Tuesday #Butler or Marquette 

 

Nov. 21 Wednesday #TBA 

 

Nov. 27 Tuesday Alcorn State 

 

Dec. 1 Saturday *at Providence 

 

Dec. 4 Tuesday Texas-San Antonio 

 

Dec. 15 Saturday at Loyola-Chicago 

 

Dec. 22 Saturday Central Arkansas (Jackson) 

 

Dec. 30 Sunday Alabama A&M 

 

Jan. 3 Thursday New Orleans 

 

 

 

# Maui Invitational 

 

* SEC/Bg East Challenge 

 

 

 

All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.

 

 

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