NASHVILLE – Highlighting the 2019-20 Lipscomb men’s basketball schedule are nine games against teams who earned postseason berths a season ago, including a NCAA Final Four participant, first-year head coach Lennie Acuff announced on Thursday.
The Bisons will play host to 13 games inside Allen Arena, where they are 38-10 over the last three seasons. Those contests will include a pair of matchups with NCAA Tournament teams from last season and a handful against schools from the Midstate.
“I feel good about the schedule we put together,” Acuff said. “Right out of the chute we have a big-time Tennessee flavor. The fans who support our program won’t have a long way to travel to watch games and see our team play, whether we are at home or on the road.”
Season tickets are NOW ON SALE and can be purchased by calling 615-966-5855 or by going to the online ticket link at LipscombTickets.com. Reserved seating is $175 per person or you could buy an All-Sports Gold Pass for $300 that allows you entrance to any Lipscomb game that is played on campus.
Acuff’s first campaign with the Bisons will open at home against Rhodes (Nov. 5) before welcoming Middle Tennessee (Nov. 9) on Homecoming weekend for its first trip to campus since 1961. Lipscomb and MTSU battled it out in Murfreesboro last season, in what was the first meeting between the schools in 11 years.
Lipscomb will play just three other nonconference games at home (Trevecca – Dec. 8; Tennessee Tech – Dec. 17).
Belmont marches into Allen Arena on Nov. 20 and the Bisons make a return to the Curb Event Center on Dec. 3.
“It will be my first Battle of the Boulevard(s),” Acuff said. “We will be excited to play those games and we know they will be very challenging.”
Despite just five games at home before the calendar flips to 2020, fans will still get plenty of opportunities to see the Bisons in the area with trips to Tennessee State (Nov. 12), Tennessee Tech (Nov. 25) and Belmont.
Acuff and the Bisons will cover a ton of miles this season with stops in 10 different states. Highlighting that road portion are marquee ventures to Duquesne (Nov. 15), Navy (Nov. 22), Xavier (Nov. 30), Vermont (Dec. 20) and Auburn (Dec. 29).
Auburn is coming off a 30-win season that saw the Tigers run the table and win the SEC Tournament title over Tennessee and turn that momentum into the program’s first-ever Final Four run that ultimately saw them fall 63-62 to No. 1 Virginia.
“We are going to be challenged with a number of high-level road games at Xavier, Auburn and Duquesne,” Acuff said. “We also get a couple of really unique trips to Navy, where we’ll get the chance to visit Annapolis and the Naval Academy. Then we go to Vermont, who has always been a perennial power in the America East.”
“We want a challenging nonconference schedule to prepare us for our ASUN run.”
Lipscomb opens ASUN Conference play with a road trip to Florida to face Stetson (Jan. 2) and FGCU (Jan. 4). After hosting Kennesaw State (Jan. 9) and North Alabama (Jan. 11), the Bisons go back on the road to take on NJIT (Jan. 16) and defending tournament champion Liberty (Jan. 18).
The Purple and Gold will get a couple weeks to sleep in their own beds with three straight home contests - the longest home stand of the season. They will close the month with Jacksonville (Jan. 23) and North Florida (Jan. 25) before Stetson rolls into town on February 1 to open the second-half of the ASUN slate.
With four of the final seven matchups on the road – UNA (Feb. 6), Kennesaw State (Feb. 8), Jacksonville (Feb. 20) and UNF (Feb. 22) – Lipscomb’s back portion of the schedule will be challenging.
The remaining games at Allen Arena will all come against teams that finished in the top half of the conference last season. NJIT and FGCU come to Music City on Feb. 13 and 15, respectively, before the Bisons wrap up the regular season with a rematch of the 2019 ASUN Championship game with Liberty on Feb. 29.
“Our schedule is difficult, especially with a young team, but it gives our fans a chance to see us against good competition locally,” Acuff said. “Basketball is important at Lipscomb and we want to play games people care about.”
The ASUN Tournament, scheduled to be played at the home arenas of the higher seeds, begins with first round games on Mar. 3, followed by semifinal games, Mar. 5, and the championship bout on Mar. 8.
Lipscomb returns eight players from a team that finished 29-8 overall and 14-2 in league play, capturing a share of the ASUN regular season crown. The season was capped with an 81-66 defeat on April 4 against Texas in the championship game of the NIT on ESPN.
- 13 home games in Allen Arena. The Bisons are 27-5 at home over the last two seasons.
- With 16 road contests, Lipscomb will travel more than 11,000 roundtrip miles this season with the longest distance being the 1,075-mile return trip to Burlington, Vermont to take on the defending America East regular season and tournament champion Catamounts.
- Lipscomb led the nation last season with 14 true road wins on its resume.
- Six teams on the schedule advanced to postseason play with four making it to the NCAA Tournament (Belmont, Vermont, Auburn, Liberty) and Xavier going to the NIT.
- Games played in 10 different states (Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Vermont, Alabama, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia and Georgia)
- The Bisons will take on first-time opponents Duquesne and Xavier. It will be just the second meetings with Vermont and Auburn.
- The meeting on the Plains will be the first since November 20, 2005 when the Tigers defeated Lipscomb 69-54.
- Lipscomb lifts the lid on ASUN road play in the state of Florida for the second-straight season after opening up at Kennesaw State in each of the previous four years.
- Middle Tennessee is making its first trip to Lipscomb in the NCAA era. In fact, the Blue Raiders have not beaten the Bisons in Nashville since January 23, 1960.
- The five nonconference home games are the fewest since 2013-14 when the team played just four times in Allen Arena prior to league action– one of which was an exhibition with Freed-Hardeman.